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HOUSE BILL 5179: Decriminalizing drug test strips

Posted at 6:14 PM, Jun 06, 2024
  • House Bill 5179 aims to decriminalize drug test strips.
  • The bill has passed two house committees and waiting to be presented to the house floor.
  • Watch video above to see how people in our neighborhoods feel about it.

“It says be nice to drug users,” Julia Miller said.
While they're just on a T-shirt, Miller wears those words proudly.

“Drug users are human beings too and they're deserving of respect and kindness,” Miller said.

And for the past 6 years, Miller has been promoting that at her organization Punks with Lunch.

Julia Miller with Larry Wallace

“We are an outreach group that focuses on providing harm reduction supplies as well food and resources in the community,” Miller said.

Through this work Miller and her team have seen and helped a lot of people struggling with drug addiction, which is why they are in full support of one tool, drug test strips.

Test strips

The small paper-like strips allow people to test substances for deadly drugs like Fentanyl, and with Fentanyl being involved in 94 drug deaths in Ingham county last year, Miller said they're needed.

“If we have access to testing our substance it could for sure decrease the amount of overdoses,” Miller.

But there's one problem with these drug test strips.

“The possession, the distribution, the manufacturing of these types of devices are considered drug paraphernalia,” said State Rep. Carrie Rheingans.

Rheingans said that needs to change and she's hoping to do that through House Bill 5179.

“House Bill 5179 will decriminalize Fentanyl test strips or other test strips from our drug paraphernalia law, exempting them from the law,” Rheingans said.

The proposed bill has made its way through two house committees and waiting to presented to the house floor.