WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — On April 28, the Kansas Senate sent back a bill to a conference committee over a provision that would allow for legal fentanyl test strips.
Those who support legalizing the strips believe it will save lives, while opponents think it enables drug users.
The Kansas House of Representatives approved two separate bills with a provision allowing the decriminalization of fentanyl strips. However, the Kansas Senate sent the bill back to committee and eliminated the provision both times.
One vocal opponent of the strips is Sen. Molly Baumgardner.
“Testing strip isn’t going to give you necessarily a true, it may give you a false negative,” said Sen. Baumgardner. “This notion that a form of drug paraphernalia is going to save lives, it just won’t.”
District 102 State Representative Jason Probst says the studies on fentanyl strips disagree.
“When people have fentanyl test strips, and they test their drugs, and they find the presence of fentanyl, they are altering their behavior.”
Keith Dockter is a person in long-term recovery and an outreach specialist with Holland Pathways.
“I think that if we’re putting those things in people’s hands, and it’s giving them the opportunity to use relatively safely, I kind of think it’s a bit of a no-brainer.”
With fentanyl test strips now being eliminated from legislation, addiction medicine Dr. Heather Roe says there are other options to fight against the deadly substance.
“You know, it would be free to have a Good Samaritan law, so that if Person A is using with their friend; and their friend, Person B, is overdosing, they can call and get them help without facing a felony. And that happens commonly, I think.”
Dr. Roe explained that she has around 30 new patients come in every month. She says that nearly all of them suffer from fentanyl addiction.