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

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

Just Posted

Go By Bike Week hits the road in Nelson

The event runs Sept. 28 to Oct. 4

Volunteers needed at Nelson soup kitchen

Our Daily Bread is struggling to find help

Community comes together to create outdoor classroom at Kootenay school

Brent Kennedy Elementary has a new learning space thanks to an inspired teacher Kalesnikoff Lumber

RDCK rescinds evacuation alert for properties near Talbott Creek fire

Cooler and wetter condition are expected to help crews fight fire in coming days

LETTER: Friends of Kootenay Lake should read the science

From Harvey Andrusak, former provincial director of fisheries

B.C. reports 96 new COVID-19 cases, one hospital outbreak

61 people in hospital as summer ends with election

‘Unprecedented’ coalition demands end to B.C. salmon farms

First Nations, commercial fishermen among group calling for action on Cohen recommendations

Earthquake off coast of Washington recorded at 4.1 magnitude

The quake was recorded at a depth of 10 kilometres

B.C.’s top doctor says she’s received abuse, death threats during COVID-19 response

Henry has become a national figure during her time leading B.C.’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

BC Liberals must change gears from election cynicism, focus on the issues: UBC professors

COVID-19 response and recovery is likely to dominate platforms

B.C. could be without a new leader for multiple weeks after Election Day: officials

More than 20K mail-in voting packages were requested within a day of B.C. election being called

Vancouver Island sailor stranded in U.S. hospital after suffering massive stroke at sea

Oak Bay man was attempting to circumnavigate the world solo

Most Read