Pine Belt reacts to Gov. Reeves signing HB 722 to legalize use of fentanyl testing strips

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves announced on Tuesday afternoon that he has signed a bill that will decriminalize fentanyl testing strips.
Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 10:43 PM CDT
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PINE BELT, Miss. (WDAM) - James Moore is a Pine Belt resident that has been in support for years of the decriminalization of fentanyl testing strips.

Now, that support has paid off.

“I’m glad to see that there is a more welcomed response to harm-reduction activities,” said Moore.

Moore has been heavily involved in the distribution of testing strips since losing a loved one to an overdose. Now, he hopes these strips help preserve life and create an outlet for assistance.

“We’re not naïve enough to think that people are going to throw their drugs away if it has fentanyl in it because people probably are not,” Moore said. “But, they have the choice of using much less than they might have used otherwise. They certainly always have the choice to never use alone; always have someone they can call for help.”

Sgt. Jake Driskell of the Jones County Sheriff’s Department said that while he and the department will follow all laws in place, his concern is the accuracy of these testing kits.

“So, in one part of the pill, you may have a 50% dose of the fentanyl, and the other side of the pill may have nothing,” said Driskell. “So, in people testing their own, they may test a part of the pill or a side of the pill that has no fentanyl in it and they think it’s completely safe to take when in reality it’s not.”

Moore looks on the positive side of possible false readings.

“The chances of so many more living by having this tool at their disposal is much greater than the chance of harm that might come due to a false test,” Moore said.

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