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Tennessee Decriminalizes Fentanyl Test Strips

Fentanyl test strips are no longer illegal in Tennessee. Senate Bill 2427, introduced by State Senator Jack Johnson, R-Franklin, on Feb. 1, was signed into law by Governor Bill Lee on March 31, 2022.

The bill amends T.C.A. §39-17-402, which defines terms such as drug paraphernalia and controlled substance, to exclude narcotic testing equipment used to determine whether a controlled substance contains a synthetic opioid — in this case, fentanyl.

Previously, possession of fentanyl test strips was a Class A misdemeanor and distribution was a Class E felony.

Fentanyl test strips, seen below, produce results within seconds of use. People who use drugs can test their drugs for fentanyl and fentanyl analogs by dissolving a small amount of any substance into shot glass of water, then dipping the strip into the solution. Fentanyl test strips work similar to dipstick pregnancy tests — one red line is positive for fentanyl and two red lines is negative.

Two fentanyl test strips (positive result to left, negative result to right)

Evidence shows that fentanyl test strips are effective in preventing opioid overdose, helping inform people who use drugs whether their drugs contain fentanyl or not. Most opioid overdose fatalities involve inadvertent fentanyl poisoning.

LEARN MORE: What Are Fentanyl Test Strips?

Hopefully, this legislation will encourage Tennessee’s prevention coalitions, addiction treatment facilities, and syringe services programs to stock these potentially life-saving drug checking devices.

Live in Tennessee and Need Fentanyl Test Strips?

We now offer fentanyl test strips by mail to residents of Tennessee. Learn more — How to Request Supplies via Mail.