Senate approves bill to remove testing strips from drug paraphernalia list in state code

Oak Hill, WV (WOAY)- Under the current state code, possession of testing strips for drugs other than fentanyl could lead to criminal charges, and criminal justice reform advocates are lobbying to change this during the 2024 legislative session. 

The strips test small samples of substances to find any additional drugs included that could be harmful or fatal. 

Individuals who use street drugs often have little to no knowledge of undesirable substances contained in them, such as fentanyl and xylazine. 

While the naloxone opioid reversal drug helps prevent opioid overdoses, it would be ineffective for xylazine, which is a non-opioid sedative. 

Considering West Virginia’s rate of fatal overdoses, reform advocates and legislators are seeking methods to avoid further overdose deaths.

A bill to remove the testing strips from the drug paraphernalia list is moving forward with bipartisan support as the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the legislation under Senate Bill 269 on Tuesday. 

The proposal is now headed to the full senate for further consideration. 

Lawmakers have introduced a similar bill in the house, HB 4429, which is also awaiting further discussion by the House Committee on Prevention and Treatment of Substance Abuse. 


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