Drug checking project responds to ongoing overdose crisis

An innovative program designed by researchers at U-VIC is being piloted at Victoria harm reduction sites to provide a quick, accurate chemical analysis of drugs in order to prevent overdoses.

The project can identify if fentanyl is present and also what fillers or cutting agents have been used.

The three-year pilot project was initiated by a $1.7 million grant from Health Canada's Substance Use and Addictions Program.

Dr. Richard Stanwick, Chief Medical Health Officer, Island Health says the programs provides the opportunity to explore potentially life-saving drug checking technologies, which will provide more information on potential interventions and patterns of use.

"It's one that's going to make it safer for the individual, but by doing so, it will certainly give us some intelligence as to what's happening within the drug scene in terms of developing our better responses in our overdose prevention sites, etc."

Stanwick says more than 100 people in the Capital Regional District died last year as a result of the high presence of fentanyl and carfentanil contaminating the drug supply.

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