The Senate passed legislation on Tuesday that would legalize the possession and distribution of test strips to detect fentanyl laced in heroin and other illicit drugs
The vote was 34:0 with three members not voting.
The bill, introduced by Senate Majority Leader Michael J. McCaffrey, D-Warwick, would pave the way for distribution of this cheap, low-tech tool to prevent fatal overdoses. Studies show the strips -- which are similar to a home pregnancy test -- cost about $1 each and can detect fentanyl in very small doses.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. Nearly 60 percent of all overdose deaths in Rhode Island have been linked to fentanyl.
The measure now moves to the House, where a similar bill has been introduced by Rep. Aaron Regunberg, D-Providence.