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. Find our some of the locations where you can get your drugs tested with and FTIR and test strips here.
What happens at a drug check?
- Give a small sample (the size of a matchstick head) to the technician.
- Answer some questions about whether you’ve already used the drug and where you got the drug.
- Sample gets placed on the spectrometer.
- Wait about 5-10 minutes per sample.
- Fentanyl and/or benzodiazepine test strips will be used on some of your sample. (This confirms whether or not the sample contains fentanyl and/or benzodiazepines).
- Get a result slip with your sample’s results written down for you to take with you.
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 4-5 other substances and cutting agents that may be mixed in or used as a filler.
- 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 contaminants. Only the small sample provided is being tested and all other drugs or contaminants may be present in the rest of the drug batch. For example, fentanyl may be present in the rest of the drug in the baggie, but not in the small amount being tested.
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 dangerous substances.
Ways to stay safe:
- Have a buddy
- 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 tested, the technician can safely dispose of them at the testing site.
For more harm reduction information check out Toward the Heart