Guest Editorial: A Bill To Help Save Lives

Arizona Senator Christine Marsh pushes for the passage of new Arizona bill that would prevent fentanyl overdoses

By Valley Girl

Through the best efforts of mothers who have tragically lost their children due to accidental overdose, there is a new bill reaching the Arizona Senate. The group has been advocating for the legalization of fentanyl testing strips for the purpose of saving lives.

Leading the charge is Arizona Senator Christine Marsh who lost her son, Landon Marsh (25), nearly nine months ago due to an accidental overdose. The goal of the testing strips would be to allow the ability to test pills for fentanyl contamination. Currently the distribution and use of these fentanyl testing strips could result in a felony.

At the moment, the community is on the fence about the passage of this bill suggesting that legalization of these testing strips would be viewed as condoning street drug usage. However, even without the legalization of the strips, the state health department reported there have been about 8,500 people who have died of suspected opioid overdoses since July of 2017. Advocates for the passing of the bill have stated that these deaths are highly preventable and would serve the community well to take action in preventing these deaths.

Haley Coles of Sonoran Prevention Works, a non-profit working to fight drug abuse, mentioned in an interview with Arizona 3TV/CB5, “…people are using drugs, people have used drugs a long time, despite all efforts people continue using. For those currently using right now today, we have these tools to try to prevent death.”

In many cases, it could take only one pill to lose a life to fentanyl contamination. And if there is a chance of preventing an accidental death and help save lives, then passing this bill as the potential to preventing the spread of this epidemic.

Over the past few years, we are seeing younger and more frequent deaths in relation to pills laced with fentanyl. It is not just rappers, actors, and other entertainers that are losing their lives to accidental overdose, but everyday citizens with everyday lives. Many times these people are old friends from high school, neighbors, and even teenagers in group settings. There is a need for a solution to this shark bite issue and the passage of this important bill is the tipping point in helping prevent the fentanyl overdose epidemic that seems to be taking on a life of its own.