Fentanyl test strips legalized as Kansas Gov. signs bill’s third iteration
TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - With the stroke of a pen, fentanyl test strips are now legal in the Sunflower State and penalties for battering a healthcare worker have been heightened.
On Thursday, May 11, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly announced that legislators and advocates gathered in the Capital City as she signed Senate Bill 174 into law. The bill decriminalized fentanyl test strips which detect the presence of fentanyl in other substances. The move is expected to prevent overdose deaths in the Sunflower State.
“Overdoses caused by fentanyl have devastated communities across Kansas and the nation,” Gov. Kelly said. “By decriminalizing fentanyl test strips, we are providing the resources needed to combat the opioid and fentanyl epidemic so that families and loved ones no longer have to feel the pain of a preventable death.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that more than 100,000 residents died in 2021 due to drug overdose - the most in U.S. history.
“Today, with the signing of SB 174, Kansas is putting into action the values of kindness, compassion, and love for our neighbors,” Representative Jason Probst said (D-Hutchinson). “By decriminalizing fentanyl testing strips, we are helping Kansans protect themselves from a deadly poison that has taken far too many lives – including the tragic and profoundly painful loss of far too many teenagers and young adults in our state.”
Kell noted that 2023 marked the third iteration of the bill in the legislature. In 2022, the bill passed unanimously in the House but stalled in the Senate. The legislation has continuously held bipartisan support.
“The fentanyl epidemic is devastating our communities. Senate Bill 174 represents our first steps in working together to fight this terrible drug,” Rep. Stephen Owens (R-Hesston) said. “I am proud to stand with Governor Kelly as we continue to work together to save lives.”
The Governor said she has also taken other measures to prevent drug overdoses in Kansas. Historic investments have been made to give law enforcement resources to seek out those who push illegal drugs onto children. Schools have also been given funds to keep naloxone on hand.
Kelly noted that the bill also increases criminal penalties for those who manufacture or distribute fentanyl and for those who commit battery against a healthcare provider.
Those who are seeking substance use treatment and recovery services have been encouraged to use available services HERE.
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