HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — A new proposal could amend the existing drug paraphernalia laws to allow people who use drugs to use fentanyl test strips that will test a street drug before they use it.  

Fentanyl is reportedly 80 to 100 times stronger than morphine and it has caused an alarming number of fatal overdoses. In the past year since the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 100,000 Americans have died from drug overdose, including over 1,000 Alabamians, according to the state’s Opioid Overdose and Addiction Council.

The Madison County Coroner reported seven deaths since the start of this year. All related to the deadly drug fentanyl. 

“Of course there’s other drugs out there that are causing just as much problems as fentanyl, the problem with fentanyl is the risk of overdose and we haven’t necessarily seen a decrease in that,” said Carl Wilkerson of the Partnership for a Drug-Free Community in Huntsville.

Wilkerson says that there is no way for a drug user to know if an opioid or other known street drugs are laced with fentanyl. That is exactly what has happened and it’s led to a whole new group of drug users dying from overdose from a drug they didn’t even know they were taking. 

“Drug dealers or those that are distributing these illegal drugs are mixing it in with other drugs that they are selling,” said Mark Wilson of the Jefferson County Department of Health.

Wilson says that the only way for a drug user to detect what they are taking is to test the drug. That’s why he pushed for legislation to pass the Fentanyl Test Strip Bill. Right now, anything that tests drugs for potency by anyone using or selling drugs is illegal in the State of Alabama.  

“It’s a simple bill that basically exempts fentanyl test strips from the list of things that are illegal in our drug paraphernalia law,” Wilson continued. “Our drug paraphernalia law lists testing equipment or supplies as illegal drug paraphernalia if it is used in relation to the use of illegal drugs.”

Wilson stated that the fentanyl test kits is the only way to save a drug user life from the dangerous drug. He says the fentanyl incident involving cadets in Florida Friday morning is more evidence that something needs to be done or fentanyl will continue to rage on.  

Wilson adds that the fentanyl test kits are the only way to save a drug user life from the dangerous drug. He says that something needs to be done or fentanyl will continue to rage on.