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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

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Home health, hospice nurses in OR call for union contract agreement; MS ranks low among states for long-term care services, supports; and a look at how adopting children changed the lives of two Texas women.

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Former Vice President Mike Pence reportedly tells investigators more details about efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley wins the endorsement of a powerful Koch brothers' network and a Senate committee targets judicial activists known to lavish gifts upon Supreme Court justices.

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Congress has iced the long-awaited Farm Bill, but farmer advocates argue some portions are urgent, the Hoosier State is reaping big rewards from wind and solar, and opponents speak out about a planned road through Alaska's Brooks Range a dream destination for hunters and angler.

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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