PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A local state representative is continuing to push for a bill to legalize fentanyl test strips for personal use in Pennsylvania.
“Fentanyl is the number one cause of overdose deaths in this country today, especially among 18 to 45 year olds. And that is simply unacceptable,” said Pennsylvania State Representative James Struzzi (R-Indiana).
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Congressman Struzzi is funding House Bill 1393, which would take fentanyl test strips out of the injecting drug device category, so people can use them for personal use to make sure they’re not impregnated. or cut with fentanyl. The bill was discussed in public hearing at the House Judiciary Committee on Monday.
Struzzi knows the pain of losing a loved one all too well. His brother, Michael, died of a drug overdose at the age of 31.
“I lost my brother 7 years ago, not to fentanyl, but I understand the pain of losing a loved one or a friend or family member to a drug overdose. And my point is if we can find a way, simple ways like fentanyl test strips to give them a second chance, to let them survive an overdose. I don’t mean that I’m condoning drug use by funding this measure, but I see it as a way to save people’s lives and find ways to get them into treatment so they can recover. recover and live a good quality of life,” said the local lawmaker.
According to the CDC, Fentanyl can be 50 times more potent than heroin and can be deadly even in small doses. According to the state Department of Health, there were 5,075 fatal overdoses in Pennsylvania in 2020.
“Fentanyl test strips can be a lifesaver for people,” said Alice Bell, overdose prevention project coordinator at Prevention Point Pittsburgh.
Test strips are not new to Prevention Point Pittsburgh, a nonprofit that provides harm reduction services.
“They’re so easy to use, they’re basically like a pregnancy test, simple to use, just a quick yes or no,” says Bell.
The nonprofit has an office and four mobile trucks. It provides free supplies to help people use drugs safer. Bell said the organization started distributing fentanyl test strips in 2017, and since then, it has distributed 17,000 of them.
“Initially, we did a pilot project where we did a survey of people and we found that 89% of people who used test strips reported that they did the same thing. something different, as a result they use less, they tell others yes. fentanyl in their medication,” she said.
Bell said the bill was a no-brainer. She thinks it will pass and the test strips should be legalized.
Congressman Struzzi said fentanyl test strips cost about $1. He said this bill needs to be on the governor’s desk as soon as possible before we lose more Pennsylvanians to addiction.
“Grief doesn’t go away, and we couldn’t help people if they weren’t here. So we’re giving people a second chance with these tools and finding ways to help them get out of addiction and recover,” said Congressman Struzzi. “We cannot give them hope, we cannot help them, we cannot give them a second chance if they are not here with us.”
The bill remains on the House Judiciary Committee. Congressman Struzzi hopes that the committee has seen what these test strips can do and how they can help people. He hopes the bill will be put to a full vote in the House of Commons as soon as possible.
https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2022/01/12/state-rep-pushes-for-bill-that-legalizes-fentanyl-test-strips/ State Representative Jim Struzzi Urges Bill to Legalize Fentanyl Test Tapes – CBS Pittsburgh