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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Haida matriarchs occupy ancient villages as fishing lodges reopen to visitors

‘Daughters of the rivers’ say occupation follows two fishing lodges reopening without Haida consent

Registration open for first-annual ‘NextIslandpreneur’ student business competition

Competition offers mentors, iPads, seed money, cash prizes to young entrepreneurs on Haida Gwaii

Haida Nation reminds ‘select few’ fishing lodges that Haida Gwaii is closed to non-essential travel

‘Upholding Haida law amid COVID-19’ release comes one day before Queen Charlotte Lodge plans to reopen

PHOTOS: ‘Phengnominal’ gnome house constructed in Port Clements

‘Ms. Gnomer’s Home 4 Wayward Folk,’ created by Kelly Whitney-Gould, a hit for kids and loggers alike

Councillor resigns mid-term in Queen Charlotte

Richard Decembrini’s resignation announced at regular meeting on July 6

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Conservationists raise concerns over state of care for grizzly cubs transferred to B.C. zoo

‘Let them be assessed now before their fate is sealed,’ urges B.C. conservationist Barb Murray

B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance minister says

Okanagan a bright spot for in-province visitor economy

National Kitten Day aka the ‘purrfect’ day to foster a new friend

July 10 marks National Kitten Day, a special day to celebrate all things kittens

Lower Mainland YouTubers claim to be Kelowna display toilet ‘poopers’

RCMP can not speak to legitimacy of video, will be investigating

RCMP confirm homicide investigation underway near Quesnel

Police releasing few details four days after homicide occurred Monday, July 6

Conservatives say police should be called into investigate WE charity scandal

Trudeau is already under investigation by the ethics commissioner for potential conflict of interest

Most Read