By Sarah Ladd
Fentanyl test strips will no longer be considered drug paraphernalia in Kentucky.
Gov. Andy Beshear on Friday signed a bipartisan bill decriminalizing fentanyl test strips in Kentucky after it easily passed both legislative chambers.
The state Senate passed House Bill 353 Thursday night. The House concurred unanimously in the final hours of the legislative session. It will take effect July 8, 90 days after the session’s adjournment.
Fentanyl test strips are paper strips that can detect the presence of fentanyl in pills and other drugs within minutes. Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that contributed to 73% of Kentucky’s 2,250 overdoses in 2021. Using the test strips can help prevent overdoses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.
“Unwitting individuals may think they are ingesting one substance and unaware that it also contains fentanyl,” Jennifer Hancock, president and CEO of Volunteers of America Mid-States, said in a statement.
“With police departments and other emergency responders already carrying and administering Narcan, a medicine used for the treatment of a known or suspected opioid overdose emergency, it makes sense to prevent these overdoses on the front end,” she said. “It may afford another day where we can get an individual into recovery.”