Saturday, July 30, 2022

Harm reductions (fentanyl test strips) remain illegal in Texas

It's a long way from Texas to Vancouver. This recent story from the Texas Monthly caught my eye:

Fentanyl Test Strips Could Save Lives—But They’re Illegal in Texas By Jeff Winkler, July 22, 2022

"The most widely embraced method of harm reduction is offering users naloxone, known by the brand name Narcan, an easy-to-use medication capable of reversing the effects of an opioid overdose. All U.S. states, including Texas, have relaxed restrictions on access to naloxone amid the opioid epidemic’s “third wave,” which began in 2013 with the rise of fentanyl’s presence on the black market. A less-popular harm-reduction method is the creation of government-approved, supervised sites where users can get clean syringes and take drugs in the presence of a health-care worker. Just two such sites in the nation have been authorized—both in New York City.

"Fentanyl test strips fall somewhere in the middle in terms of their acceptance. The strips have become easier to access, as several states, including Tennessee and New Mexico, have recently decriminalized their possession. But they remain illegal in about half the states, including in Texas, where the strips are considered “drug paraphernalia,” meaning they fall into the same category as bongs and blunt papers. Since the passage of the 1973 Controlled Substances Act, Texas has banned any material intended for use in testing for or “analyzing” a controlled substance."


It's based in part on this earlier report from State of Reform:

 Drug testing strips remain illegal in Texas despite recent rise in overdose deaths, by Boram Kim | May 14, 2022 

"In Harris County alone, fatal drug overdoses increased 52% from 2019 to 2021. County statistics show deaths involving fentanyl skyrocketed by 341% in the same period, from 104 to 459.

"Meanwhile, the Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office released 2021 figures that showed drug overdoses were the leading cause of accidental deaths for the first time in a decade. Approximately one-third of overdose deaths were caused by fentanyl."



Tuesday, May 17, 2022

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