Kansas Senators fight tool that helps prevent opioid overdose

“Those strips are a way to help save lives out there,” said Sen. Jeff Pittman, a Leavenworth Democrat.

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State News

May 3, 2022 - 3:22 PM

Sen. Molly Baumgardner was among those who opposed a provision allowing the legal use of fentanyl testing strips in Kansas. Advocates argue the strips can save lives but senators rejected the policy over concerns this would enable drug use. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

TOPEKA — An effort to allow Kansans access to a tool that tests for the drug fentanyl is heading in the wrong direction after the Kansas senate blocked a provision legalizing it.

Senators chose last week to send a bill clearing Food and Drug Administration-approved cannabis medication back to a conference committee over a provision that would allow for legal fentanyl test strips. The test strips are a response to a growing opioid addiction epidemic, driven in large part by fentanyl, widespread in Kansas and many other nearby states.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid frequently combined with heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and MDMA. When people do not know if or how much of the powerful drug they are consuming, the risk of overdose spikes.

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