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

Apr 25, 2018

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

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.