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Written by: Lucy Connery MPH

Matthew’s Law Passed

Matthew’s Law was signed by New York State Governor Kathy Hochul in November 2023 to expand access to harm reduction supplies like fentanyl test strips. Before Matthew’s Law, fentanyl test strips were unavailable to many communities in New York State, especially at the local level.


This legislation allows health care professionals and pharmacies to distribute drug testing strips to the public; hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies can now dispense testing strips to anyone who may need them before they leave the facility.


According to the New York State Department of Health (2022), annual opioid overdoses involving fentanyl have been increasing and made up nearly 90% of all opioid overdose deaths in 2020. In Erie County, New York, nearly 80% of all opioid overdoses in 2023 involved fentanyl and cocaine (Erie County Department of Health, 2023). This indicates that many individuals who experience a fentanyl overdose may not have known that they were even exposed to the drug.


It is important for people who use drugs (PWUD) to regularly test their supply for contaminants such as fentanyl and xylazine to prevent overdoses and reduce harms associated with drug use.


MATTERS distributes free fentanyl and xylazine test strips to individuals and organizations across New York State. Pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, and other health facilities can order up to 1200 fentanyl and xylazine test strips at a time at no cost; these supplies are shipped directly to any location in New York State. For even faster access to these life-saving supplies, download the ‘MATTERS Network’ app on the AppStore or GooglePlay.


Erie County Department of Health (2023). Erie County Opiate Epidemic Task Force: Quarterly Meeting 11.12.2023. Retrieved from:

New York State Department of Health (2022). New York State Opioid Annual Data Report 2022. Retrieved from: