Harm reduction boxes in Polk County, Iowa, do not contain fentanyl test strips that can detect the dangerous opioid in other drugs before a user accidentally overdoses.
The Polk County Health Department has added harm reduction kits to its building and emergency rooms across Des Moines, but the kits do not include fentanyl test strips as a result of a state law that classifies the tests as drugs.
Instead, the boxes will contain tourniquets, cotton filters and needle disposal containers, which the Department of Health recommends to people struggling with drug abuse if they experience potentially fatal medical conditions. hopes that it will help if they are faced with an emergency.
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The boxes are locked and can be accessed by getting a code from the medical staff on the sites or by making an appointment or asking the staff.
According to a report from Axios, Polk County officials are pushing to change an Iowa law that outlaws fentanyl test strips at a time when the state’s overdose death rate is up 71 percent since 2018.
Iowa isn’t the only state to outlaw sight lines Kaiser Health News report earlier this year, but many states have tried to change those laws.
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Legislatures in Georgia, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Tennessee and Alabama have recently passed laws to allow fentanyl test strips as a “harm reduction” tactic supported by experts.
“We hope that all states recognize that the risk of contamination is so high and that fentanyl test strips will allow a person who uses drugs to know if they have fentanyl,” said Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The National Institutes of Health reported to Kaiser Health News.