A measure meant to expand access to kits that test for drugs like fentanyl and xylazine took one step closer to becoming law this week with its passage in the state Senate.

If approved, the proposal would add to the health care professionals who can dispense the drug testing kits to include pharmacists, addressing what supporters say is a lack of accessibility for the testing kits.

Lawmakers want to expand access amid an historic rise in overdose deaths in New York and across the country. At the same time, drugs mixed with substances like fenantyl or xylazine have been attributed with overdose deaths by unsuspecting users.

Public health officials have been especially concerned with xylazine because it is not responsive to Narcan, which can be used to counteract the effects of an overdose.

More than 109,000 people died from a drug overdose last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The overdose crisis we are facing now is due to the dangerous practice of adulterating drugs with fentanyl, which can be deadly in even the smallest amounts,” said state Sen. Peter Harckham, the sponsor of the bill. “We need to stop as many overdoses as we can before they occur, and the best way to do so is by making sure testing kits for adulterants are widely available. These lifesaving tools need to be stocked in every pharmacy in New York, for starters.”

The measure is being named in honor of Matthew Horan, a Westchester County resident who died of a fentanyl overdose in 2020.