Substance users can now check their drugs for fentanyl at any of Vancouver's four overdose prevention sites and Powell Street Getaway supervised injection service, in addition to Insite. The drug-checking service is free, and results are posted regularly at the sites for clients to view.
The drug-checking service has been running at Insite for the last year. So far more than 1,400 checks have been done. Clients who checked prior to consuming the substance, and got a positive result for fentanyl, were 10 times more likely to reduce their dose and clients who reduced their dose were 25% less likely to overdose. No overdoses occurred when substances were negative for fentanyl.
Overall, 80% of drugs checked at Insite were positive for fentanyl, including 84% of heroin samples, and 65% of non-opiate drugs such as crystal meth, ecstasy/MDMA, and cocaine.
Clients use a test strip, a product originally developed to check urine, at their booth. The client dilutes their substance with a few drops of water and a positive or negative for fentanyl is revealed within seconds. This method checks for fentanyl, and has recently been discovered effective to also detect several other fentanyl analogues including carfentanil.
There are approximately 1,000 visits to the overdose prevention and supervised consumption sites every day.
For more information about overdoses, and where the checking services are located, visit www.vch.ca/overdose.
Read the news release.