Who checks my drug samples?
Trained drug checking technicians receive the samples and run each drug test. At some of our partner locations, technicians work alongside trained peers who are recruited and employed by the community sites and organizations.
Who can access drug checking services?
Everyone! Drug checking services are available to anyone wishing to use them. Drug checking services located in supervised consumption sites (SCS) and overdose prevention sites (OPS), can be accessed even if you do not need to use the injection room or other site services.
What technologies are used to check my drugs?
We use two different drug checking technologies to check the components in your drug samples. Each drug is checked using a Fourier-transform Infrared (FTIR) spectrometer and fentanyl immunoassay strips. Some locations may offer benzodiazepine strips and LSD strips as well. You can read more about drug checking technologies here.
Confirmatory testing at an off-site laboratory is available at a few drug checking locations. Samples that we think have compounds our technologies cannot detect may be sent in for confirmatory testing. Results for these samples can be made available privately.
What can drug checking tell me about my sample?
The FTIR spectrometer can determine up to four components in your sample, including cuts or buffs, that may have been added to your drugs. The detection limit of the FTIR is about 5%, which means that substances that are in trace amounts may not be detected. This is why we pair the FTIR analysis with fentanyl and other test strips. The fentanyl test strips are very sensitive to fentanyl and some additional fentanyl analogues, and will detect whether or not they are in your sample.
What do I need to bring?
All you need to bring is a small sample of the drug that you want to test. We don’t need much (about the size of half a matchstick head). We may be able to test residue from a baggie or cookers.
Where are drug checking services located?
Drug checking services are currently provided in several communities around the province at overdose prevention sites, supervised consumption sites, summer music festivals, and at smaller community events and sites on a pop-up basis. The current list of drug checking locations can be found here. These locations have been approved by the regional health authority as places to legally bring drugs to get checked.
Where do the drug checking results go?
Results from drugs checked at our point-of-care locations are uploaded every Monday to the results page of the website. If you agree to having your sample sent off for confirmatory testing, those results will not be published online, but you can email [email protected] with the unique ID code given to you by the technician at the time of testing to get your results.
Monthly reports summarize these drug checks from our partnered drug checking services. You can find the monthly reports and other reports here.
Why should I get my drugs checked?
Drug checking gives people information about the contents of their drugs so they can make informed decisions about the drugs they intend to use. As we are seeing an increase in the presence of unexpected ingredients like fentanyl and benzodiazepines in drugs, drug checking provides one of the only means of consumer safety in a toxic, unregulated drug supply.
How long does it take to get my drugs checked?
Each drug check takes about 5-10 minutes, depending on the complexity of the sample being tested. Keep in mind that there may be a wait if the drug checking services are busy. If it is busy, the technician can usually accept a sample for testing and you can return later that day when the drug checking service is open to get your results.
How can I dispose of my sample post drug checking?
If you would like, our technicians can dispose of your drug sample using on-site safe disposal methods. Safe disposal helps keep toxic drugs out of the environment where they may unintentionally cause harm. Remember, it is up to you whether or not you choose to dispose of your drugs.
Is drug checking illegal?
Drug checking is not illegal in BC. It is considered an overdose prevention service in accordance with the provincial Emergency Health Act (Ministerial Order No. M488). It is legal to get drugs checked at approved sites. Check your local health authority website to find a drug checking service location near you, or check our Locations tab for more information.