Mental Health and Addictions Minister Judy Darcy. (Black Press files)

B.C. launches new drug-checking program, expands fentanyl testing

The program includes new machinery that tests illicit drugs, as well as fentanyl testing strips

With no end to the overdose crisis in sight, B.C. has launched a new first-of-its-kind drug-checking service in Vancouver, and is expanding the supply of more simple prevention measures across B.C.

The pilot program includes the implementation of a new Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectrometer machine in Vancouver, which tests drugs for deadly opioids and contaminants within minutes. The machine will be used as a year-long pilot project at two supervised consumption sites in Vancouver.

READ MORE: September least deadly month for drug overdose this year: coroner

READ MORE: Fentanyl-linked overdose deaths soar in B.C.

Researchers at the BC Centre on Substance Use will evaluate how people use the new service, and whether it connects them to substance use treatment and reduces the risk of overdose.

Fentanyl test strips will also be made available at all supervised consumption and overdose prevention sites in B.C., including in Surrey, Kelowna, Kamloops and Victoria.

During an announcement in Vancouver Friday, Mental Health and Addictions Minister Judy Darcy said drug checking is an integral piece to preventing overdoses.

“This information can save a person’s life,” she said.

More than 1,100 British Columbians have died by an overdose in the first nine months of 2017.

The stark death toll this year is expected to double the number of lives lost last year, with a growing percentage of fentanyl being detected as the cause of the fatalities.

Overdose deaths by city
Infogram

opioid crisis

Just Posted

Couple home safe after COVID-19 lockdown in Peru

Cortney Pitts and Maxime Patenaude “won the lottery” to get to come home from Peru.

Back in print

We are pleased to announce that the April 9 issue of the Pioneer will be available in print.

Foodbanking in the time of COVID-19

Local food bank needs are high, but Lawrie Mack said: “there is hope to counter the gloom.”

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

‘Hold our line’: 29 new cases of COVID-19 announced in B.C.

Saturday’s number of new cases marks the lowest in weeks.

Two inmates found positive for COVID-19 at federal prison in B.C.; other tests pending

15 staff self-isolating waiting results, refusal to work notice sent, says correctional officer

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

Full World COVID-19 update: National Guard collect ventilators in New York; Spain, Italy improve

Comprehensive coronavirus update with news from around the world.

Two people fined after B.C. police spot online ads re-selling 5,000 surgical, N95 masks

Police confiscated the masks, being sold at inflated prices, and now working with Fraser Health

General exposure to public low after inmate tests positive for COVID-19: Interior Health

The Okanagan Correctional Centre inmate is receiving appropriate care

Sex workers face new risks during COVID-19 pandemic

‘Desperation has kicked in’ for vulnerable, undocumented workers unable to access help

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate will face penalty

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

Most Read