Evers decriminalizes fentanyl testing strips, Milwaukee to distribute hundreds in the community

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The city announced Wednesday that Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Services (BHS) will distribute 1,600 fentanyl testing strips in the community.

It's part of an ongoing effort to prevent opioid-related deaths. 

The strips detect the presence of fentanyl in powders or injectables and can help prevent accidental overdoses. 

According to the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office, 560 people died from drug overdoses in 2021. 

Fentanyl -- either alone or in combination with other drugs -- resulted in 79% of those overdose deaths. 

Governor Tony Evers signed a bill Wednesday, March 16, decriminalizing the strips. It was previously a felony to possess these strips in the state of Wisconsin. 

A plan to distribute the testing strips is in development and will be rolled out in the coming weeks.

For more information and to learn more about available resources, click here

If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health or substance abuse crisis, call the Milwaukee County 24/7 crisis line at 414-257-7222.

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