Plan to legalize fentanyl testing strips in Pennsylvania gaining momentum

Plan to legalize fentanyl testing strips gaining momentum

A plan to legalize fentanyl testing strips is gaining momentum.

The bill was introduced in Harrisburg by Rep. Jim Struzzi, R-Indiana, earlier this year.

The strips allow drug users to test how much fentanyl is in their drugs before use.

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According to Overdose Free PA, which tracks drug overdoses statewide, around 75 percent of fatal overdoses in Allegheny County involve fentanyl.

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“The bottom line is this will save lives,” Struzzi said in a phone interview.

Fentanyl testing strips are considered drug paraphernalia under Pennsylvania law. But Channel 11 found the tests are being distributed by Prevention Point Pittsburgh free of charge.

A spokesman for Allegheny County District Attorney Steve Zappala says they will not prosecute anyone for possessing fentanyl testing strips.

“I honestly don’t know how many people that are using drugs are going to test it. But if you get a couple of people who are going to use and it’s going to save them, it’s worth it,” said Lou Rinaldi, who lost his niece to a drug overdose in 2015.

Struzzi said the bill has bipartisan support, but it’s unclear when it will be voted on.