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Trump case expected to head to the jury today; IN food banks concerned about draft Farm Bill; NH parents, educators urge veto of anti-LGBTQ+ bills; Study shows a precipitous drop in migratory fish populations, in US and worldwide.

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Actor Robert DeNiro joins Capitol Police officers to protest against Donald Trump at his New York hush money trial as both sides make closing arguments. And the Democratic Party moves to make sure President Biden will be on the ballot in Ohio.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

Newly legal fentanyl testing strips help fight overdose deaths in MO

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Monday, November 13, 2023   

The rise in deaths involving synthetic opioids or fentanyl have overdose-prevention advocates looking for solutions across the nation.

Gov. Mike Parson recently signed a bill legalizing fentanyl test strips with hopes of lessening the death toll.

Rithvik Kondai Sr., overdose prevention coordinator for the Missouri Institute of Health, said these days it is hard to understand the trends, and fentanyl seems to be in everything.

"You think you're buying heroin but you're getting fentanyl," Kondai explained. "Now it's shifted to finding traces of it in cocaine, in meth, in MDMA, in other substances that are not opioids."

Missouri joins at least 20 other states in decriminalizing the drug-detection tool. Neighboring Kansas legalized fentanyl test strips earlier this year as well.

Kondai contended there is still more to do in the fight for overdose prevention and the government should not just stop at fentanyl test strips.

"There's now this adulterant called xylazine in the opioid supply," Kondai noted. "There are xylazine test strips available, but technically in Missouri, we wouldn't be allowed to give them out per se. Why not just take it to that next step where we can just make drug checking legal?"

Over the summer, the Biden administration announced a plan to combat the growing problem of fentanyl being laced with xylazine, an animal tranquilizer known by the slang term "tranq."

According to a report released last year by the Drug Enforcement Administration, xylazine-positive overdose deaths increased by more than 500% in the Midwest between 2020 and 2021.


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