The Alabama House of Representatives voted on Wednesday in favor of legislation that would allow Alabamians to legally purchase fentanyl test strips, which are now banned as drug paraphernalia.

House Bill 187 (HB187) is sponsored by State Rep. Allen Treadaway (R-Morris).

Treadaway is a retired Birmingham Deputy Police Chief.

Treadaway said that the test strips are currently a “controlled substance,” and are thus illegal to possess or purchase under current Alabama law. Treadaway explained that fentanyl-laced in other narcotics and even counterfeit ADHD pills are contributing to a growing number of people dying from drug overdoses, particularly in Jefferson County, where he lives.

“Jefferson County went from 200 overdoses to over 400 last year,” Treadaway said. “Over 300 were fentanyl overdoses.”

Treadaway explained that persons can use the test strips to test any substance they may have purchased from an illicit source to make sure that what they think they are about to use or consume is not tainted with fentanyl.  

“This a lifesaver,” State Rep. Thomas Jackson (D-Thomasville) said, “There is a lot of sickness in this state when it comes from drug abuse."

Senate Bill 168 (SB 168) is the Senate companion bill to HB187. It is sponsored by State Sen. Jim McClendon (R-Springville).

“The greatest cause of fatal drug overdoses is fentanyl, and in most of those cases, the drug user does not realize that they have purchased a drug laced with fentanyl," McClendon said when the bill was in the Senate Health Committee. "It’s not just cocaine, meth, and heroin users, ADHD pills used by college students to stay up and study for a test, they’re laced with fentanyl as well.”

Treadaway asked that his HB187 be substituted for SB168. The House voted to do so and then SB168 was passed. It now goes to Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) for her consideration.

The bill passed the Senate with a vote of 19-5. It passed the House of Representatives 100-0.

Tuesday will be day 22 of the 2022 Alabama Regular Legislative Session. The 1901 Constitution limits the legislature to just 30 days in a regular session. There are only a maximum of 8 days left in the current legislative session. The House will take up the State General Fund (SGF) on Tuesday. It has already passed the Education Trust Fund (ETF) budget, which is now in the Senate. The Senate has already passed the SGF.

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