Governor Doug Ducey Signs Bill to Legalize Fentanyl Test Stripes In Hopes of Preventing Overdose Deaths
Governor Doug Ducey of Arizona recently signed a bill in May that was promoted by the overdose death of a legislator’s son to legalize the use of fentanyl test strips. The hope for legalizing fentanyl test strips is to prevent overdose deaths caused by the potent synthetic opioid fentanyl, which is found in illicit drugs.
The test strips are used by mixing some of the residues of the drug or a piece of the pill with water and the strip will then detect if there is fentanyl in the drug which could prevent a potential overdose. Senator Christine Marsh lost her son, Landon Marsh, this past June due to fentanyl overdose and is now sponsoring the Senate Bill 1486 to legalize fentanyl test strips.
“Illegal drug use can be extremely dangerous, and with the prevalence of fentanyl being laced into other drugs, it can be deadly,” Marsh said. “We have to make sure families and young Arizonans have the resources needed to prevent a lethal fentanyl overdose, this legislation will provide an additional tool.”
Many organization’s supported Marsh’s bill such as the Arizona Public Health Association, the Arizona chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, and the Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice. The Arizona Medical Association also called it a “common-sense policy” in support of Marsh’s bill. The house voted 48 to 11 in favor of the SB 1486 bill with one member not voting.
In 2020 the drug-related deaths in Arizona rose by 32% to 46.2 per 100,000 people as shown in a Maricopa County Medical Examiner report released earlier this year. The report also says fentanyl cases have doubled almost every year since 2015 and are becoming the most common drug detected in overdoses.
On April 7 it was announced by the CDC that federal grant recipients could use their grants to purchase fentanyl test strips. A CDC report shows that approximately 88,000 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States in the 12-month span ending in August 2020, with the overdose deaths accelerating during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The increase in drug overdose deaths related to synthetic opioids such as illicitly made fentanyl is a public health crisis that requires immediate action and novel strategies,” CDC director Dr.Rochelle Walensky said in a written statement.
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