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Legislative action to decriminalizes test strips unlikely this session

A bill to decriminalize a common harm reduction tool used to test for the presence of fentanyl in other substances is likely dead this session after it did not receive a committee hearing in the Senate.

HB 1053 would have removed the parts of Indiana law that classifies tools for “testing the strength, effectiveness, or purity of a controlled substance” as controlled substance paraphernalia.

Advocates said test strips can save lives by reducing the chance of overdose from fentanyl, which can help people stay alive long enough to find recovery. Indiana had the 10th highest rate of overdose mortality in 2021.

READ MORE: Advocates say fentanyl test strips save lives. New bill could decriminalize them

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Indiana code is vague enough to allow law enforcement to decide whether to charge Hoosiers for possession of paraphernalia.

Rep. Victoria Garcia Wilburn (D-Fishers), the author of the bill, said decriminalization would allow people in the state to utilize harm reduction tools. She also said it would give Indiana access to federal funding dedicated to harm reduction and recovery resources.

The bill was not heard in the Senate Corrections and Criminal Law Committee. Lawmakers could still preserve the measure by adding its language to another bill before the anticipated end of the legislative session next week.

Abigail is our health reporter. Contact them at

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Abigail Ruhman