Potential hope for the opioid epidemic

Posted Jun 14, 2022, by Saint Soulaani


Harm reduction means treating everyone with dignity, respect, and compassion

On May 24, 2022 the House Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to pass House Bill (HB) 1393, and an amendment was adopted. HB 1393 is the bill that provides the definition of drug paraphernalia, which are products and tools used to grow, manufacture, test, and contain controlled substances (see the bill for the full definition). 

Currently, the bill lists fentanyl testing strips and other testing products as paraphernalia. The amendment would remove from the definition of paraphernalia any testing product utilized for personal use to determine if a controlled substance contains toxic substances or chemicals that may cause harm or death. Therefore, substance testing strips would no longer be a part of the definition of drug paraphernalia, and people would be able to possess them legally for personal use. The amended bill still has to pass through the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the Governor. 

On June 14th, the bill passed the second consideration with an amendment that removed the words for personal use from the amendment made just weeks ago and described above. The amendment now reads “This definition does not include testing products utilized in determining whether a controlled substance contains chemicals, toxic substances, or hazardous compounds in quantities which can cause physical harm or death. The term “testing products” shall include, but is not limited to, fentanyl test strips.”

The current drug epidemic has only gotten worse since the pandemic, and more substances are being laced with fentanyl and carfentanil. Carfentanil is a synthetic opioid that is 100 times stronger than fentanyl at just two milligrams. This has led to an increase in urgency for the decriminalization of testing strips. CCJ is a strong advocate for access to harm reduction resources such as fentanyl testing strips. We will continue watching the movement of this bill and providing updates as they become available. 

For more information or to get involved with this work, please contact our Field Program Coordinator Paul at paul@centerforcoalfieldjustice.org or call 724-229-3550 ext. 8.


  • Saint Soulaani

    Saint Soulaani (they/them) is our organizing fellow from North Strabane Township, Washington County. They are a graduate of Robert Morris University where they earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and a minor degree in Cyber Forensics. Saint loves to cook, paint and is a gamer in their free time. Contact Saint at saint@centerforcoalfieldjustice.org.

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