Senate Bill 76
151st General Assembly (Present)
Becomes effective upon date of signature of the Governor or upon date specified
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 16 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO FENTANYL TESTING STRIPS.
This Act authorizes the distribution of testing strips to determine the presence of fentanyl or fentanyl-related substances. Fentanyl testing strips could be distributed to the community along with opioid overdose reversal medication as a harm reduction strategy in the opioid addiction crisis. A number of states have authorized fentanyl testing strips distribution in recent years including Maryland, Rhode Island, the District of Columbia, and North Carolina. Twenty-seven states currently provide fentanyl testing strips through needle exchange programs. According to an April 2019 Delaware Health Alert published by the Department of Health and Social Services, fentanyl is a potent opioid that is increasingly being mixed into illicitly sold drugs, often without the buyer’s knowledge. In Delaware, fentanyl was involved in 72% of overdose deaths during 2018, up from 58% in 2017 according to the state’s Division of Forensic Science. During 2018, there were more fatal overdoses than any year on record with 400 deaths. This Act exempts fentanyl testing strips from the drug paraphernalia statute. This Act provides the limitations on liability for lay individuals and organizations in Section 1 of this Act because of the extraordinary epidemic of death that is occurring in Delaware as a result of fentanyl being mixed into illicit drugs. It is similar to liability exemptions under § 8135(b) of Title 10 and § 6801 of Title 16 of the Delaware Code for certain types of volunteers and Good Samaritans and is an exception to the general public policy against civil immunity.