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New legislation aims to save lives amidst New Jersey’s fentanyl crisis

Amidst the battle, against the impact of fentanyl in New Jersey there is a glimmer of hope. Senators Cory Booker and Representative Josh Gottheimer have introduced legislation that could potentially save lives. Their proposal aims to expand access to test strips, designed to detect fentanyl and xylazine (an animal tranquilizer) in various drugs.

Standing at the Bergen New Bridge Medical Center in Paramus, Booker, and Gottheimer’s joint efforts resonate with a shared sense of purpose and determination. Their collaborative approach showcases a compassionate response to the crisis that urgently needs attention.

Their goal is to empower community organizations at both state levels by providing grants. This financial support will enable them to obtain and distribute test strips. These strips hold potential as life-saving tools bridging the gap between life and tragedy in the opioid crisis.

Dr. Anthony Accurso, the director of addiction medicine at Bergen New Bridge Medical Center emphasizes the importance of these test strips. According to him “Having access, to strips would allow individuals to determine whether or not the drugs they are using contain fentanyl.”

“Some people may still choose to use fentanyl while others might reconsider their decisions ” he reflects, highlighting how these test strips can empower individuals to make choices, about their substance use.

The statistics from 2019 paint a picture; fentanyl was involved in 75% of drug overdoses in New Jersey. This striking reminder emphasizes the need for interventions and the importance of providing these test strips.

The proposed introduction of test strips represents a step towards providing individuals with the knowledge they need to protect their lives. Advocates stress that while some may opt for caution others may be influenced to make choices based on the insights gained from these strips.

However, there is a challenge at hand. Surprisingly, certain states still consider fentanyl test strips illegal due to outdated drug paraphernalia laws.

This initiative extends beyond the borders of New Jersey. The commitment of Senators Cory Booker and Josh Gottheimer to providing access to test strips speaks volumes about their dedication to saving lives.


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