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

Just Posted

Latitude 48 Paddling Club races through Victoria waters

Local team clinched victory in Nanaimo to kick off season that will see them compete in Hawaii

Greater Victoria police busy with St. Patrick’s Day calls

Victoria police respond to 82 calls for service

Six stories a non-starter at Sidney’s Cedarwood Inn site

Site redevelopment plans go back to the drawing board

Central Saanich Police training a drug recgonition expert

Role needed as Canada nears cannabis legalization this year

Royals gear up for WHL playoffs after suffering season-worst loss

Victoria has a solid 7-3 record this year against opening-round opponent Vancouver

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Women’s Expo seeks to empower women this weekend

Victoria Women’s Expo set for Saturday and Sunday at Pearkes Recreation Centre

Anti-pipeline protestors block Kinder Morgan tanker near Seattle

Protest was spurred on by the 28 anti-Kinder Morgan activists arrested in Burnaby

Cirque du Soleil aerialist dies after fall during Florida show

Longtime performer fell while performing in VOLTA

Mount Douglas Mathletes enjoying success by the numbers

Saanich Grade 9s walk away with top five spots in Island math competition

B.C. cyclist races to first win of the season in New Zealand

Casey Brown captures Enduro title by more than two minutes at Crankworx Rotorua

Notorious Russian troll farm also took swipes at Canadian targets

Targets included oil infrastructure and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Some surprises in new book about B.C. labour movement

“On the Line” charts history of the union movement back to the 1800s

Canada earns second Paralympic Games silver in 20 years

Held 1-0 lead in para hockey game from 12:06 of first to dying seconds of third and lost in overtime

Most Read