Mom fighting to make fentanyl test strips more accessible in Washington

The strips are considered drug paraphernalia which means they are currently in illegal possession.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Can vending machines save lives?

One parent who lost her daughter to a fentanyl overdose thinks so, and she’s trying to change state law to make fentanyl test strips more accessible.

When Allisone McClanahan was a child, she used to give her allowance to the homeless.

Her mother, Genevieve Schofield, said: “She’s a loser’s champion.

Schofield said Allisone struggles with fibromyalgia and chronic pain. In 2021, the 26-year-old died of a drug overdose after a friend gave her what she thought was oxycodone, but turned out to be fentanyl.

“She loves life and if she had known that this was a possibility, that a pill could take her life, she wouldn’t have taken that pill, I know it,” Schofield said.

Schofield wanted to turn her daughter’s tragedy into a lesson, so she reached out to lawmakers about a potential way to save lives: fentanyl test strips.

These strips can detect traces of the deadly fentanyl, but the state of Washington considers the strips a drug paraphernalia, so it is illegal to possess them. Only two clinics in the state are allowed to disband them, including Peer Seattle and Peer Kent.

Peer Kent started offering strips, along with Narcan overdose, in vending machines for free last year. The program director says the kit has prevented overdoses, potentially saving lives. The Allison law would authorize the distribution of strips statewide.

Allisone’s mother says her daughter still gives her strength.

“I can feel her now. She’s right here with her hand on mine,” Schofield said. “She’s been a tremendous agent of change, and I just want that to continue.”>

If the bill is passed this year, Schofield pledged to return to Olympia next year to pass another law requiring vending machines with test strips to be placed in hospitals, hotels and schools. Mom fighting to make fentanyl test strips more accessible in Washington

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