SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) — A bipartisan group of state lawmakers is trying to help more Illinoisans get access to fentanyl testing strips.
The Illinois Department of Public Health reported more than 3,717 drug overdoses involving fentanyl during 2021. IDPH explained that is equivalent to losing 10 Illinoisans each day.
House Republican Leader Tony McCombie (R-Savanna) told the House Public Health Committee Thursday that her bill could allow pharmacists and retail stores to sell fentanyl test strips over the counter. County health departments could also distribute the test strips to the public for free.
“It also amends the word for test strips to be removed from statute,” McCombie said. “Currently, it’s considered a drug paraphernalia for some reason. So, it takes that definition out of there.”
McCombie said this could be a great first step to address the fentanyl epidemic.
“Obviously, we would like to address the folks stopping putting fentanyl into commonly-used drugs. But this is where we are today, unfortunately,” McCombie added.
“As you’re aware, I lost a cousin to heroine laced with fentanyl,” said Rep. Jeff Keicher (R-Sycamore). “So, thank you for doing more to protect people in our society and I’d be honored if you add me as a co-sponsor.”
House Bill 3203 passed unanimously out of the House Public Health Committee. All committee members signed on as co-sponsors with McCombie.
The legislation now heads to the House floor for second reading.
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March 9, 2023 at 05:36PM