Drug checking is a harm reduction service that allows people to determine what is in their substances, and potentially take action to reduce the risk of any associated harms. In collaboration with community partners, free, anonymous drug- checking services are available in Vancouver and other communities across Vancouver Coastal Health.
At Insite, 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.
Read the study on the service at Insite in the Harm Reduction Journal, September 10, 2018.
You can check substances at all overdose prevention and supervised consumption sites and through Get Your Drugs Tested in Vancouver or by mail. You can also pick up fentanyl test strips for use at home at the locations listed below.
Vancouver Coastal Health is now making fentanyl drug testing strips available for take-home use at designated locations. Staff are available to ensure people who request the strips are familiar with how to use them. These strips are also labeled with 'how to' sticker instructions for people to refer to.
Please note: there are limited quantities of strips available per visit.
Clients can use a drug testing strip to check their substances for the presence of fentanyl. Strips are available at all
overdose prevention and supervised consumption sites, Get Your Drugs Tested, and various other community health centres.
To use the strips, the client dilutes a very small (grain of salt) amount of their substance with 30 ml of tap water, dips the test strip in the cup for 10 seconds, and then waits for 1 minute for a red line to appear on the test strip. 1 red line is a positive result, 2 red lines is a negative result.
Please note: strips do not always detect analogues such as carfentanil.
Regardless of results, stay safe! Never use alone, carry naloxone.
For more information, visit our VCH overdose page.
If you'd like to receive drug contamination alerts, text "alert" to 236-999-3673 (DOPE)
If you'd like to fill out an anonymous form to warn us about contaminated street drugs, please text "bad dope" to 236-999-3673 (DOPE)