New Ohio bill would decriminalize fentanyl drug testing strips

Sadye Matula

The adhering to short article was initially posted on and is revealed in the Ohio Funds Journal under a content-sharing agreement. Unlike other OCJ content, it is not offered for free of charge republication by other news stores as it is owned by WEWS in Cleveland.   Thousands of […]

The adhering to short article was initially posted on and is revealed in the Ohio Funds Journal under a content-sharing agreement. Unlike other OCJ content, it is not offered for free of charge republication by other news stores as it is owned by WEWS in Cleveland.


Thousands of Ohioans die every single yr from overdosing on medicine, and a new bill in the Household is attempting to help save some of all those lives.

Dwelling Bill 456 would decriminalize fentanyl drug tests strips.

Ohio has been referred to as “ground zero” for the opioid epidemic. For at the very least the previous decade, Ohio ranks in the prime 5 in the state for drug overdose loss of life amount, according to the Centers for Disease Command and Prevention.

In early May well, two Ohio State University college students died and one more was hospitalized from a drug overdose. 1 of them was Tiffany Iler, 21, who was from Broadview Heights and graduated from Laurel University.

Columbus law enforcement haven’t unveiled the formal induce, but they suspect it might be from fentanyl-laced medications. The Business of University student Life despatched out a information soon after the incident warning college students about faux Adderall tablets. The concept says that some of the bogus products surface to comprise fentanyl, which is triggering an enhance in overdoses and hospitalizations.

Fentanyl, the highly addictive artificial opioid, is the foremost induce of drug-associated fatalities in Ohio, in accordance to condition info.

“For anyone who has no tolerance for some thing, there is absolutely nothing you can do if you don’t have a life-saving instrument,” Thomas Powell, civic engagement organizer for River Valley Organizing, mentioned.

Powell knows the dangers of fentanyl properly.

“I was supposed to go to faculty and play soccer,” he reported. “I experienced scholarships and every little thing and my entire lifetime crumbled and subsequent issue I knew, I was homeless.”

He experienced no intention to at any time do fentanyl, he explained, but it observed him.

“I was into stimulants, like cocaine and methamphetamine,” the advocate mentioned. “I acquired a very little tiny bump like that, and inside 10 seconds, I was completed.

There is not one particular consensus on how a great deal fentanyl will get rid of you, due to the fact each individual physique is different. About 2mg is what the Drug Enforcement Administration considers as a “deadly dose.”

“I died, they pronounced me useless and a rookie EMT was like, ‘I’m going to strike him 1 additional time.’” Powell stated. “I arrived back again, thankfully, with that.”

But a thing clicked in his head the past time he overdosed, he claimed. That required to be the close.

He had to look at “most of the men and women that he went to university with and grew up with” die. That is why he is so passionate about his nonprofit, which is focused to supporting communities with hurt reduction.

“It’s in essence offering people today who are applying the applications they need to have to endure,” he claimed.

Cost-free fentanyl drug testing strips have come to be much more typical for lots of Ohio cities. Health and fitness departments and companies all throughout the point out have been delivering these assets.

Even even though the strips are promoted by town officials, they could get you in issues.

“Fentanyl drug screening strips are regarded as drug paraphernalia and it is unlawful for an individual to be in possession of them,” state Rep. Kristin Boggs, a Columbus Democrat, stated.

If somebody possesses or utilizes the strips, they could be billed with a fourth degree misdemeanor, in accordance to current condition regulation. That could be up to 30 days in jail and a wonderful of up to $250.

Boggs, with bipartisan assist, introduced H.B. 456, decriminalizing the check strips.

In her testimony Friday, she went off script. She had composed her testimony a few months prior to the OSU overdoses.

“Many of you may well know that Ohio Condition a short while ago had a fantastic reduction when two university pupils who had concluded with their finals, ended up about to go into graduation weekend, finished up overdosing what we feel was on fentanyl from Adderall that they experienced ordered on the streets,” the Democrat stated. “This problem is unquestionably one thing that I feel we all respect is important and requires to be dealt with and we consider that by decriminalizing these fentanyl screening strips, it is building one extra resource, one extra avenue that could likely result in anyone averting an overdose that is unattended since they are unaware of what substances are in the prescription drugs that they are making use of.”

News 5 arrived at out to numerous lawmakers and additional than 10 unique teams and discovered that all supported decriminalizing the take a look at strips, together with the Ohio Prosecuting Lawyers Affiliation.

No one has publicly come out versus the bill, so considerably, but a widespread argument Powell hears is that this will just persuade men and women to use.

“Everybody’s heading to appear at you like you are fewer than a human being,” he mentioned. “It sucks, but most individuals just need a hand.

“Nobody will get in that placement if everything is alright, you know?”

Boggs introduced up a 2018 study performed by Johns Hopkins in which 335 individuals who use medications ended up questioned no matter if they would transform their habits if they have been in a position to detect fentanyl in their medications. About 70{0b665730f5e195e56f45088ce75c7e365ca1afa067b6c9c0bf555aa77d6d2cfa} of respondents said they would alter their behavior, the examine showed.

“My brother would even now be listed here today if he experienced accessibility to an 80-cent-tester,” he reported. “Narcan will save lives, fentanyl exam strips save lives, sterile supplies help save life and stigma kills.”

This invoice would support retain Ohioans safe and sound, and lessen the stigma all-around dependancy, he claimed.

“It’s nevertheless heading to be the earth we reside in, but ideally we’ll just be a small little bit safer and we’ll drop a pair fewer beloved types,” he added.

The public should be equipped to give testimony in favor or versus the bill in the coming months.

Damage reduction assets

If you are in instant danger, contact 911.

The Liquor, Drug Habit and Mental Wellbeing Expert services (ADAMHS) Board of Cuyahoga County has an whole site of sources.

The Never ever Use By yourself Hotline is accessible at 1-800-484-3731.

If you’re prepared for assist, connect with the 24-hour Habit/Psychological Overall health Crisis Hotline at 216-623-6888.

Follow WEWS statehouse reporter Morgan Trau on Twitter and Facebook.


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