Fentanyl is a controlled substance present in some prescription medications, particularly those taken by those suffering from severe pain. Unprescribed use of fentanyl is a crime, and in the past fentanyl test strips were also illegal drug paraphernalia.
In November of 2022, Gov. Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania approved a bill that decriminalized fentanyl test strips within the state. It is important for those who take prescription fentanyl or those who might have family members with such prescriptions, to understand the implications of this new law.
What is the importance of the new fentanyl test strip law?
Fentanyl itself is a powerful opioid that can quickly lead to death upon overdosing. The substance is impossible to detect through sight, smell or even taste, meaning that a fentanyl test strip is virtually the only way for one to know if they have fentanyl in their system. Due to their association with a dangerous controlled substance, fentanyl test strips were drug paraphernalia according to Pennsylvania law prior to the approval of the new bill.
How does the new fentanyl test strip law benefit people?
With fentanyl test strips now legal to possess and use, Pennsylvania citizens have an accessible way to test if the fatal substance is in their bodies. Those who take prescription medications that might contain fentanyl can use the test strips to make sure they are not overdosing. Fentanyl test strips can also protect people who suspect that a malicious individual might lace their other drugs or drinks with the opioid.
While fentanyl is and should remain a controlled substance, the decriminalization of fentanyl test strips is a boon to all Pennsylvania citizens. People who are not aware that they may be taking fentanyl now have an accessible way to prevent fatal overdoses.