Who tests my drug samples?
Trained Drug Checking Technicians receive the samples and run each drug test. At some of our locations, our technicians work alongside trained peers who are recruited and employed by our partner sites and organizations.
Who can access drug checking services?
Drug checking services are meant to be low-barrier and available to anyone wishing to use them. While we operate largely out of supervised consumption sites (SCS) and overdose prevention sites (OPS), you do not need to be accessing the on-site services or using the injection room to access drug checking.
What technologies do we use?
Each drug is tested using a Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectrometer (FTIR) and fentanyl immunoassay strips. We also offer to test some samples with benzodiazepine strips and LSD strips, for additional information when needed.
We also offer confirmatory testing at an off-site laboratory on some samples that we think have compounds our technologies cannot detect, and by request with results being made available privately.
What can drug checking tell me about my sample?
We use two different drug checking technologies to test the components in your drug samples. 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 of a grain of rice).
Where are drug checking services located?
Drug checking services are currently provided in several communities at Overdose Prevention Sites, summer music festivals, and at smaller community events or sites on a pop-up basis. The current list of drug checking locations can be found under the Hours and Locations tab at the top of the page. These locations have been approved by the appropriate Medical Health Officers as places to take drugs to get tested.
Where do the drug checking results go?
Results from drugs tested at our point-of-care locations are uploaded every Monday to this 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.
Each month, public reports are published that highlight the general trends and findings from our partnered drug checking services. You can find reports for each health region and BC as a whole with monthly findings.
Why should I get my drugs checked?
Drug checking provides people with information on the contents of their drugs and empowers them with knowledge to make informed decisions about the drugs they intend to use. As we are seeing an increase in the presence of contaminants like fentanyl in the current drug supply, 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 test 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. Please note 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. Drug checking is considered an overdose prevention service in BC in accordance with the provincial Emergency Health Act (Ministerial Order No. M488). It is legal to get drugs tested at approved sites.