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Md. man’s fatal overdose is prompting legislation to require fentanyl testing in hospitals

During standard toxicology screenings, many Maryland hospitals run what is called the “Federal 5,” which screens for drugs, such as cocaine and cannabis. Fentanyl is not always included in that test unless requested. Yates, along with Siems’ parents, is now urging lawmakers to require that when a hospital orders a toxicology screening for a patient with a known or suspected overdose, it must include fentanyl. The only exception would be if the hospital doesn’t have the ability to do rapid urine drug testing. State Del. Joe Vogel, of Montgomery County, is the lead sponsor of House Bill 811. He said this gap in fentanyl testing needs to be filled in order to empower patients and accurately gather data about how prevalent the crisis is. He said he is worried that without the legislation, the state will continue underestimating the fentanyl epidemic. “Gov. (Wes) Moore is supportive of this bill because his approach, and we agree with his approach, is that we need data-driven solutions to this fentanyl overdose epidemic,” Vogel said. “And this is one step forward at helping us get toward those data-driven solutions.” Cheyenne Corin, WTOP

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