Where can I get my drugs checked?
Drug checking takes place at community partner sites such as overdose prevention sites (OPS) and supervised consumptions sites (SCS) around BC. Drug checking has also been offered at some music festivals in BC, such as Basscoast and Shambhala, as well as some smaller community pop-up events. To find locations near you where you can get your drugs checked, click here.
What happens during a drug check?
Drugs checking can tell you a lot about your substances but not everything!
- Even if you know where your drugs come from and trust your source, your drugs may still contain unexpected and dangerous substances.
- Drug checking can help reduce risk by providing information about what is actually in a substance, allowing you to make better-informed decisions and use more safely.
What we CAN tell you about your sample:
- Identify up to 4–5 substances and cutting agents that may be present in a sample
- Estimate percentages of substances in a sample
- Determine whether your sample contains fentanyl and some fentanyl analogues
- Determine whether your sample contains benzodiazepines and some benzo analogues
What we CANNOT tell you about your sample:
- Detect substances present in small amounts (less than about 5%) with the FTIR
- Tell you the exact percentages of what is in your sample
- Detect new or unknown substances we don't have in our reference database
- Reliably distinguish between specific substances with similar chemical make-up (e.g. 2C- family, fentanyl analogues)
- Determine if the whole drug intended for use is free of adulterants or contaminants. Only the small sample provided is being tested and other portions of the drug (e.g. remainder of baggie) may contain other substances because of uneven mixes. This is commonly referred to as "the chocolate chip cookie effect."
Checking your drugs cannot guarantee that a drug is safe to use. The FTIR and test strips may occasionally miss fentanyl, fentanyl analogues, or other harmful substances.
Ways to stay safe:
- Have a buddy or use at an OPS if available
- Start low, go slow
- Use one drug at a time
- Have an overdose plan
- Carry naloxone
- Be aware of your health and tolerance
If you choose not to use your drugs after you get them checked, the technician can safely dispose of them at the testing site.
For more harm reduction information check out Toward the Heart