BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) – After a unanimous vote by the metro council, Wednesday, fentanyl test strips are now legal in East Baton Rouge Parish.
Jan Laughinghouse, Executive Director of Capital Area Human Services, CAHS, is thrilled with the decision.
“It’s just another tool in a harm reduction strategy that will save lives and I am so glad,” Laughinghouse said.
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, says fentanyl is responsible for thousands of overdoses each year. Other drugs, like heroin and cocaine, are often laced with the synthetic drug fentanyl, and many people are unaware they are taking it. Laughinghouse said being able to detect it is key to curb overdoses.
“We had 246 (overdoses) last year in East Baton Rouge Parish so a startling, an alarming number,” said Laughinghouse. “And a lot of it be related to synthetic opioids like fentanyl, this is something that is going to go a long way to saving lives.”
The strips will test drugs for fentanyl and alert you if it’s laced. Laughinghouse said the strips won’t stop drug addiction, but they will help save lives.
“When you look at Fentanyl test strips, it is just as essential clean syringe access and the use of Narcan to reverse an overdose,” said Laughinghouse.
She says it’s a small tool that will have a big impact.
“The empirical data is overwhelming that it saves lives and I will tell you you cannot get anyone to get healthier or change their behavior if they are no longer here,” Laughinghouse.