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Ohio Senators Want the Feds to Fund Field Tests to Detect Fentanyl, Protect Officers

The drug-testing devices that would be covered by the POWER Act use laser technology to analyze and identify potentially harmful substances based on a library of thousands of compounds that are categorized within the device.
The drug-testing devices that would be covered by the POWER Act use laser technology to analyze and identify potentially harmful substances based on a library of thousands of compounds that are categorized within the device.

Sen. Sherrod Brown is introducing a bill tomorrow to provide funding for devices that detect fentanyl.Sen. Brown's POWER Act

The POWER Act would provide funds for portable chemical screening devices, such as those being used by Customs and Border Protection agents. Sen. Brown says they’re needed because local law enforcement officers need to be able to test drugs in the field to ensure they’re not in danger of an accidental overdose, such as the one that happened last year to an officer in Columbiana County.

And he adds that there’s another reason law enforcement would benefit from using the devices.

“State and local testing labs are facing big backlogs. Sometimes agencies have to wait for months, which means police officers can’t do their jobs – investigations, prosecutions – as they work to get these drugs off Ohio streets.”

The bill would establish a grant program through the U.S. Department of Justice to buy the devices, which are about the size of a TV remote, and cost about $40,000 to $60,000 each, according to Brown.

The bill is co-sponsored by Ohio’s other senator, Republican Rob Portman.

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