Seth Dewey, Substance Misuse Health Educator Reno County Health Department, stood behind Governor Laura Kelly with legislators and advocates in Shawnee as she signed Senate Bill 174, a bipartisan bill that decriminalizes fentanyl test strips on May 11, 2023. “Decriminalizing test strips, which can detect the presence of fentanyl in other substances, will help prevent overdose deaths in Kansas,” according to Gov. Kelly’s media release.
“Overdoses caused by fentanyl have devastated communities across Kansas and the nation,” Governor 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.”
“This of course couldn’t have happened without Governor Kelly, Representatives Probst and Owens, Libby Davis, Brandy Harris, organizations like the Kansas Recovery Network for their grassroots work and advocacy and all of the others that have been tirelessly advocating for this not just on the days of testimony but in their everyday lives,” said Dewey. “I hope this stands as an example for all of us to not just look at party affiliation but rather at the important things like, what will save lives and allow us to continue to make interventions and offer education to individuals. This is a win, but the work is never ending ahead of us and we need to continue to work together for solutions to these issues that really matter in order to make sure we are giving our most vulnerable populations the tools, resources, and compassion they need to live the lives that all Kansans deserve.”
“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.”
2023 marks the third year a bill has been introduced in the Kansas Legislature to decriminalize fentanyl test strips. In 2022, the bill passed unanimously in the House but stalled in the Senate. This legislation has continuously had support from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
SB 174 also increases criminal penalties for manufacturing or distributing fentanyl and for committing battery against a healthcare provider.
The Reno Recovery Portal includes resources and information for friends, family, and individuals affected by substance use. It is a centralized location that bridges the gap between community organizations, treatment providers, and citizens. The portal includes essential crisis, treatment and community resources, self-assessment tools, education, and prevention tools. https://renorecoveryks.com/
“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 100,000 people died in 2021 from a drug overdose, the most ever recorded in a single year in U.S. history,” according to Gov. Kelly’s media release. Kansans looking for substance use treatment and recovery services are encouraged to use state services available at https://kdads.ks.gov/kdads-commissions/behavioral-health/services-and-programs/substance-use-disorder-treatment-services