Interior Health study offers take-home drug testing kits to spot fentanyl

Interior Health to evaluate safety of at home drug testing kits aimed at reducing fentanyl overdoses

Interior Health is offering take-home drug checking kits in a new collaborative research project, with Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) and the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC), aiming to reduce the risk of fentanyl overdoses.

“We know using drugs alone presents a significant risk amidst a toxic, unpredictable and illegal drug supply that is taking three to four lives every single day,” Mental Health and Addictions Minister Judy Darcy said.

READ MORE: Lake Country has the Okanagan’s newest Community Overdose Response Education program

Fentanyl is responsible for 87 per cent of drug overdose deaths in B.C. last year, but this research project looks to arm substance users with the tools to protect themselves from becoming another statistic.

VCH’s medical health officer Dr. Mark Lysyshyn said the take-home kits may be useful in reducing possible overdoses.

“We’re hoping that giving people the opportunity to check their drugs for fentanyl on their own could help them make safer choices and save lives,” he said, noting most individuals die from overdose when they use alone.

The take-home kits, which are available in Kelowna, Kamloops, Vernon, Penticton, Cranbrook, Merritt and Nelson contain five free test strips to identify traces of the toxin in other substances.

A small amount of the drug is mixed with a few drops of water to create a solution that the test strip is then dipped in and within seconds, a positive or negative for fentanyl is revealed. The test strips were originally used to test urine for the presence of fentanyl, but in attempt to stay ahead of the overdose crisis, VCH began to use the strips to test illicit drugs directly.

READ MORE: Canadian drug makers hit with $1.1 billion suit for pushing opioids

VCH reports it has an average of 500 voluntary drug checks each month at its overdose prevention and supervised consumption sites, but take-home kits will allow individuals who don’t use those facilities to make more informed decisions, Dr. Lysyshyn said.

The research study will compare positive results of take-home tests and drug checking services already offered at various community sites using trained technicians to determine if take-home drug checking kits can effectively be used outside of a health-care facility without staff supervision.


Caitlin Clow
Reporter, Kelowna Capital News
Email me at caitlin.clow@kelownacapnews.com
Follow us on Facebook | Twitter

Just Posted

7th annual Invermere Music Fest

A snapshot of the festival

Elk River reclaims property as its own

Laws make it harder to protect private land than ever before says farmer, local government

Need cash to splash

Radium Sunrise Rotary Club wants to build a splash park in Radium Hot Springs

Kootenay National Park about to turn 100

Ninety-nine years of publicly-accessible wilderness

Kootenay Conservation Program develops online conservation tool

Online toolkit for Kootenay-based services and programs

VIDEO: B.C. Mountie killed by drunk driver honoured by memorial playground

Sarah Beckett Memorial Playground opens with ceremony in Langford

B.C. RCMP plane chases fleeing helicopter as part of major cross-border drug bust

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries

Racist confrontation in Richmond parking lot caught on camera

Woman can be heard yelling racial slurs, swear words at woman in apparent parking dispute

Groups ready campaign to help young voters identify ‘fake news’ in election

The media literacy campaign to focus on identifying misinformation and suspicious sources online

Big rally in northern B.C. draws attention to continuing lumber crisis

Mayor Joan Atkinson says about 400 workers have been directly affected by the closure of the Canfor mill

Orangeville Northmen take Minto Cup at Langley Events Centre

Swept best-of-five series 3-0 over Victoria Shamrocks

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Most Read