Street-level dealers in Vancouver are accessing free drug checking services at overdose prevention sites around the city. In doing so, they’re keeping folks in their community—their clients—safe.
James*, a dealer and user who accesses testing services at an overdose prevention site in Surrey, British Columbia for roughly a year, and says that more and more street-level dealers are using the service.
The British Columbia Centre On Substance Use (BCCSU) offers checking services at five locations in Vancouver and the surrounding area. The testing is a combination of two technologies: fentanyl test strips, which specifically detect fentanyl in samples, and the Fourier-Transform Infrared [FT-IR] Spectrometer, a portable machine that can detect components in a sample that are present above about 5 percent. BCCSU drug check technician Sam Tobias trains volunteers and workers on the FT-IR system, and performs drug checking a few days each week in Vancouver. He calls the service “point of care drug checking” that takes around 10 minutes and doesn’t damage the client’s sample.
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