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Idaho House unanimously approves legalizing fentanyl test strips

A photo inside the Idaho capitol building looking up at the dome with the Idaho state flag hanging in the foreground.
James Dawson
Boise State Public Radio
The Idaho state flag hanging in the Capitol rotunda.

Idaho lawmakers are one step closer to legalizing fentanyl testing strips.

House members unanimously voted to exempt them under the state’s drug paraphernalia statue Wednesday.

Idaho is one of just a handful of states where it's a criminal offense to simply possess them. Simple possession of testing supplies is currently considered a misdemeanor, while selling them is a felony.

In 2022, 188 people in Idaho died due to a fentanyl overdose, according to state health officials – roughly half of all overdose deaths recorded that year.

“If we’re able to mitigate just one of those with this product and allowing it to get across the board, we’ve done our job here in this legislature,” said Rep. Marco Erickson (R-Idaho Falls), one of the bill’s co-sponsors.

“Fentanyl is turning up laced in all sorts of places that you wouldn’t expect,” said another co-sponsor, House Minority Leader Ilana Rubel (D-Boise)

“This is a cheap and easy way that people can make sure they’re not being poisoned by fentanyl inadvertently,” Rubel said.

The proposal still needs approval from the Senate and Gov. Brad Little to become law. If adopted, it would take effect July 1.

Copyright 2024 Boise State Public Radio

I cover politics and a bit of everything else for Boise State Public Radio. Outside of public meetings, you can find me fly fishing, making cool things out of leather or watching the Seattle Mariners' latest rebuilding season.

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