Quick Takes

Kentucky governor signs bill decriminalizing fentanyl test strips

By: - March 30, 2023 9:40 pm

So far, Kentucky is in line to get nearly $900 million in settlements with drug makers, distributors and big retailers. (Getty Images)

FRANKFORT – Fentanyl test strips will no longer be considered drug paraphernalia in Kentucky. 

Gov. Andy Beshear on Friday signed a bipartisan bill decriminalizing fentanyl test strips in Kentucky after it easily passed both chambers. 

The Kentucky Senate passed House Bill 353 Thursday night. The House concurred unanimously in the final hours of the 2023 legislative session. 

Jennifer Hancock says test strips are key to getting people in recovery.

Fentanyl test strips are paper strips that can detect the presence of fentanyl in pills and other drugs within minutes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that contributed to 73% of Kentucky’s  2,250 overdoses in 2021, the Lantern previously reported. Using the test strips can help prevent overdoses, the CDC says

“Unwitting individuals may think they are ingesting one substance and unaware that it also contains fentanyl,” Jennifer Hancock, president and CEO of Volunteers of America Mid-States, said in a statement. 

“With police departments and other emergency responders already carrying and administering NARCAN, a medicine used for the treatment of a known or suspected opioid overdose emergency, it makes sense to prevent these overdoses on the front end,” she said.  “It may afford another day where we can get an individual into recovery.” 



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Sarah Ladd
Sarah Ladd

Sarah Ladd is a Louisville-based journalist from West Kentucky who's covered everything from crime to higher education. She spent nearly two years on the metro breaking news desk at The Courier Journal. In 2020, she started reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic and has covered health ever since. As the Kentucky Lantern's health reporter, she focuses on mental health, LGBTQ+ issues, COVID-19 and more.