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Kansas bill to legalize fentanyl test strips gutted

fentanyl test strip
Posted at 5:57 PM, Mar 21, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-21 20:41:28-04

TOPEKA, Kan. — The effort to legalize a tool that can detect fentanyl in other drugs in Kansas may be in trouble. Right now, fentanyl test strips are illegal because they're considered drug paraphernalia.

On Monday, a Kansas Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee gutted a bill that would have decriminalized fentanyl test strips. The bill would have also created an overdose fatality review board.

Changes made to the bill took the two key components out.

During the committee, the discussion between state lawmakers got heated.

Republican State Sen. Beverly Gossage from Eudora said the topic of fentanyl test strips will be worked on in a conference committee.

Democratic State Sen. Cindy Holscher from Overland Park raised concerns.

“Okay. So not the bill or the actual language?” Holscher asked.

“Not our bill, but the fentanyl strips that came over from the House,” Gossage responded.

The vote was not along party lines.

Republican State Sen. Kristen O’Shea from Topeka voiced her disappointment.

“I just want to say we can’t ever assume something is going to get worked in another place or at a different time because I don’t serve on those committees and I’m not in there. I think it’s too bad that we’re not able to tackle that issue,” O’Shea said.

The legislation already passed the Kansas House unanimously last month.

The effort to legalize fentanyl test strips also ran into problems last session when it got to the Senate.

The KSHB 41 I-Team’s in-depth reporting shined a light on fentanyl test strips which some are calling a possible solution to the fentanyl crisis.

Some opponents have raised concerns about fears that a bill like this could enable drug use. The I-Team has tried to get in touch with some of those lawmakers but has not heard back.

Supporters are hopeful there still may be a way to change state law.