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

Just Posted

South Shuswap residents kick waste collection concept to the curb

Area C residents prefer existing depot system, suggest more enforcement

Province attempting to ease concerns over caribou management

CSRD receives letter promising more consultation while chambers of commerce meet with minister

High-flying ‘Canadian Sasquatch’ spotted in Salmon Arm

Bruce Jones enjoys showing champion belt while volunteering at community events

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: mix of sun and cloud, chance of showers

Environment Canada is calling for a sunny weekend across the Okanagan

Memorial skateboard competition request rolling to Salmon Arm council

September event to be in honour of Josh Hunter who passed away in 2018

Fashion Fridays: 5 casual summer dress styles

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Battle of blacksmiths returns to Okanagan vineyard

A battle of blacksmiths is returning for its second year in Lake Country

Bank of Canada lowers qualifying rate used in mortgage stress tests

Home sales softened last year after the federal government introduced new stress test rules for uninsured mortgages

Health: Living longer, a myth?

A new column to Black Press from CHIP HealthLine Solutions

Memorial plaques stolen from Okanagan cemetery

Four plaques were stolen from Lakeview Memorial Gardens in Kelowna

Sustainable farming summit coming to the Okanagan

Kelowna will soon host a summit on how the food industry can reduce its climate impact

Couple found dead along northern B.C. highway in double homicide

Woman from the U.S. and man from Australia found dead near Liard Hot Springs

UBC Okanagan professor details wildfire risks

Associate professor David Scott provides details for the Okanagan’s wildfire season

B.C. man pleads guilty in snake venom death of toddler

Plea comes more than five years after the incident in North Vancouver

Most Read