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According to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services, 1,672 Texans died of fentanyl overdoses last year, which was a massive increase from the year prior, which saw 883 people die from the drug. In the whole United States last year, 108,000 people died of overdoses, with 71,000 of those deaths attributed specifically to fentanyl. Clearly, fentanyl is an epidemic.

I imagine nearly all of these deaths were people who did not know they were ingesting fentanyl at all. While fentanyl can be safely prescribed for extreme pain, people who die from overdoes do so because they think they are taking some other street drug like counterfeit pills, heroin, cocaine, or meth.

Obviously, the aforementioned drugs are illegal, but did you know it's also illegal to have or distribute fentanyl testing strips in Texas?

Possession of drug testing supplies is currently punishable by a $500 fine and distribution of drug testing supplies is punishable by up to a year in jail.

I'm not sure what the cruel reasoning behind this law was- is it that people who do illegal drugs should also be forced to play Russian Roulette with fentanyl each time they take them? Random executions of drug users won't solve the problem of illegal drug use, it just makes the problem worse by killing people instead of getting them the help they need to overcome their addictions.

Bills have just been introduced in the Texas legislature to remove the penalty for possessing or disturbing fentanyl testing strips, and a particularly good sign of their success is that they already have some bipartisan support. Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers have filed similar bills over this issue.

Making it legal to have fentanyl strips could eliminate the truly bad actors- the people making and distributing fentanyl, in lieu of just killing drug users, especially if anonymous reporting of found fentanyl was allowed too. Just like a weed, you have to pull these problems up by the root, or it just grows back, or worse, spreads everywhere.

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