A bill that would no extended classify fentanyl check strips as unlawful paraphernalia was sophisticated out of the Pennsylvania Property on Monday.
Initially launched by Indiana County Rep. Jim Struzzi in 2019 and reintroduced in 2021, the invoice seeks to reduce fentanyl overdoses by taking away lawful obstacles around take a look at strip use. Currently, several pieces of the condition criminalize employing the test strips and possession can carry critical penalties.
The invoice gained unanimous acceptance from the Property Judiciary Committee in May perhaps, setting the stage for bipartisan assist of Struzzi’s extensive-awaited legislation.
“Fentanyl is one of the leading results in of overdose fatalities, and just about 50 percent of our states have taken this course of action for persons who are in the grip of dependancy,” stated Struzzi. “I am also glad to see the bill was amended to extend the definition of ‘testing solutions,’ as we anticipate the future wave of perilous, managed substances that could sad to say impact our society.”
The monthly bill would completely clear away fentanyl take a look at strips and other screening solutions from the list of classifying drug paraphernalia, in an energy to decrease the selection of overdose fatalities in the point out and allow those employing opioids to be made informed of the volume of fentanyl found in their substances.
If passed, the definition of “drug paraphernalia” would not incorporate “testing goods utilized for personalized use in identifying no matter whether a controlled compound is made up of chemical substances, toxic substances or hazardous compounds in quantities which can induce physical hurt or death.”
In Could, Legal professional General Josh Shapiro produced a distinctive report warning the public that fentanyl is becoming the dominant and most common opioid in Pennsylvania. The synthetic drug is much more strong than heroin and has contributed to a considerable rise in overdose fatalities all over the condition.
“Fentanyl is fatal, and is cheap to manufacture,” reported Shapiro. “Fentanyl is about 50 occasions far more strong than heroin and 100 situations extra potent than morphine, with doses offering for the price of a six pack of beer. Just just one fentanyl-laced counterfeit pill is adequate to induce an overdose.”
Pennsylvania logged 5,224 drug overdose deaths in 2021, according to point out info. Nationally, a person million overdose deaths have been recorded considering the fact that the commencing of the opioid crisis in 1999, in accordance to the National Heart for Overall health Data.
Gov. Tom Wolf supports Struzzi’s legislation as section of his administration’s attempts to fight the overdose crisis in the course of the state.
“The administration is supportive of this legislation and acknowledges that damage reduction is an important part of our fight in opposition to the opioid and overdose crisis,” stated Elizabeth Rementer, the governor’s push secretary. “The governor, who in the course of his administration has prioritized addressing material use ailment and stopping opioid overdoses, seems forward to signing this invoice into regulation and also urges swift passage of companion legislation to legalize syringe solutions systems in the commonwealth.”
Nevertheless fentanyl exam strips remain criminalized all through substantially of the point out, some municipalities have started to decriminalize them, which include Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
In August 2021, Mayor Jim Kenney formally decriminalized the possession, use and distribution of fentanyl take a look at strips by using executive order as a damage reduction strategy meant to encourage folks to unfold consciousness of the total of fentanyl in the substances they are using.
At the time, Kenney noted that that the city required to utilize just about every source and readily available strategy to save life amid the common opioid crisis.
“We achieve practically nothing by penalizing the distribution and use of fentanyl test strips, which are proven to support folks evaluate and cut down their possibility of overdose,” Kenney said. “Fentanyl examination strips are a existence-saving device that we inspire folks to have, use and share with other people.”
Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto later adopted suit that month, signing his have executive buy prohibiting arrests for the use or distribution of fentanyl check strips.
In his direct buy, Peduto observed fentanyl was discovered in 77% of Allegheny County overdose fatalities in 2020 and that the COVID-19 pandemic made issues tougher on those going through dependancy, with isolation normally main to greater substance use and frequency.
Struzzi’s monthly bill heads to the state Senate in the coming weeks for a further vote.