ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A bill that would decriminalize a tool to help prevent people from overdosing on fentanyl is advancing in the Florida Senate.
The change would legalize products like fentanyl test strips that test whether a controlled substance contains fentanyl or a fentanyl analog — something that’s chemically similar to it.
With fentanyl being laced into so many drugs, test strip kits could warn a user within minutes that the drug they’re about to take has fentanyl in it.
Senate Bill 164 would exclude fentanyl test strip kits from the state’s definition of “drug paraphernalia.” That means anyone who has one or uses it in Florida couldn’t be arrested or prosecuted for it.
The state Senate Criminal Justice Committee unanimously approved that bill this week and it now heads to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The bill was introduced last month by State Sen. Tina Scott Polsky, a Boca Raton Democrat representing Dist. 30, which includes parts of Palm Beach and Broward counties.
State Rep. Christine Hunschofsky, a Democrat representing part of Broward County in Dist. 95, filed a House version of the bill last month.
It hasn’t come up for any committee votes yet.
A similar bill introduced last year never saw any movement.
Over the past year, 10 Tampa Bay has been taking a deeper dive into how the fentanyl epidemic is impacting our communities through our special series, “Overdosed.”
You can find more than a dozen in-depth stories and resources here.