Matthew’s Law ups access to free drug test strips

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CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) -To expand public access to fentanyl and xylazine test strips, Governor Kathy Hochul signed new legislation on Sunday, November 19. Matthew’s Law allows pharmacies and health care providers to receive and give them out for free.

Over at Marra’s Pharmacy, Assemblyman John McDonald telling NEWS10’s Anthony Krolikowski about their first batch of test strips. Along with naloxone, he says pharmacists are ready to better serve New York.

“No questions asked policy. For years, pharmacists have been providing needles and syringes to individuals who are struggling with substance use disorder,” stated McDonald.

The governor says this is being done to decrease the chances of an accidental overdose, which happened to the person the law is named after. “Matthew’s Law is actually named after Matthew Horan in November of 2020. The supply from his dealer, unfortunately it carried a tragic amount of fentanyl in it,” explained McDonald.

In July and August, NEWS10 reported on spikes in fatal overdoses in Schenectady County. Lieutenant Ryan Macherone says efforts like these make a big difference.

“Looking to law enforcement to solve it [drug use] with arrests is not necessarily going to be the most effective approach. Public-health driven, that’s where we’re going,” said Macherone.

And the data so far is backing this up. “We continue to keep a close eye on overdose trends here and we see them, as far as nonfatal overdoses go, we see them steadily decline each month.”

Other pharmacies and healthcare providers will be receiving these test strips soon. For a list of local resources to help combat substance abuse, click the links above to previous articles by NEWS10’s Anthony Krolikowski.

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