Kyle Besaw carefully tips over a small, paper cup, pouring a tiny, bluish-green pebble onto the plate of a drug-checking machine. With a metal tool, he positions the sample over a tiny crystal and lowers a clamp.
The woman who purchased the drug and asked for it to be checked expects it to be fentanyl. But she’s worried it may also contain benzodiazepines – a class of drugs commonly used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders that is now being cut into the local illicit supply.
The following year, the city and the BC Centre on Substance Use (BCCSU) purchased a portable Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectrometer – a device that can test a range of substances and identify multiple compounds at once within a couple of minutes – and made it available at rotating VCH sites.
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