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Mastriano Champions Bill Requiring Fentanyl and Xylazine Urine Testing in PA Hospitals

Heroin and Fentanyl

Pennsylvania is taking a significant step forward in addressing the opioid overdose crisis, with Senator Doug Mastriano, R-Chambersburg, playing a pivotal role. Senate Bill 683, co-introduced by Sen. Michele Brooks, R-Greenville, aims to mandate urine testing for fentanyl and xylazine – two common additives found in heroin – during routine drug screenings in hospitals.

Last year, the state government legalized fentanyl test strips for personal use, responding to the alarming surge in overdose deaths over the past decade. According to CDC data, more than 5,200 Pennsylvanians lost their lives to overdose deaths in the last year alone.

The importance of testing for fentanyl cannot be overstated, as it can be a crucial factor in saving lives. By alerting healthcare providers to the presence of fentanyl in a patient’s system, it enables timely interventions, connecting individuals to necessary treatment or providing them with a prescription for naloxone – a life-saving opioid overdose reversal medication.

The bill’s proponents, Senators Mastriano and Brooks, highlight that standard drug screenings often fail to detect fentanyl, leaving patients unaware of its presence in the drugs they consume. A recent study revealed that only 5% of patients in more than 315,000 emergency department overdose visits were tested for fentanyl, but of those tested, a staggering 40% were found positive for fentanyl.

To address this pressing issue, the senators emphasize that there are three low-cost reagents currently approved by the FDA, which, when used with a chemical analyzer, can determine the presence of fentanyl in an individual’s system. This simple yet effective measure can make a significant difference in tackling the overdose crisis.

The bill received unanimous support in the Senate and now awaits action in the House Health Committee. If passed into law, Pennsylvania would follow the lead of California, where a similar fentanyl testing law was enacted in 2023. Notably, unlike California’s law, Senator Mastriano’s Senate Bill 683 has no expiration date, demonstrating the state’s unwavering commitment to addressing the opioid crisis on an ongoing basis.

As the opioid overdose crisis continues to impact communities across Pennsylvania, the passage of Senate Bill 683 represents a critical step forward. Senator Mastriano’s advocacy and dedication to this cause are pivotal in safeguarding the well-being of Pennsylvanians, ensuring early detection of fentanyl and xylazine, and connecting individuals to life-saving interventions and support. With this comprehensive approach, Pennsylvania aims to make a significant stride in combating the devastating consequences of opioid addiction and overdose deaths.

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