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

Penticton runners take some top spots in Peach City RunFest

Both the top male and female half-marathon winners were from Penticton

Kelowna firefighters douse blaze in hedges

The cause of the fire on Renfrew Road is under investigation.

Former Greyhound employees gather in Okanagan to say a final farewell

Drivers, depot agents and dispatchers from Western Canada gathered in Penticton to say goodbye.

Comedy of romance and crosswords to hit the stage in Penticton

Performances take place from May 22 to 26 at the Cannery Theatre

Proposal put forward to turn old Penticton coffee shop into pharmacy

Application for rezoning will go before Penticton city council this week

Weather holds up for Rutland May Days

60th annual May Day midway, market and entertainment saw hundreds of attendees

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

Kelowna firefighters douse blaze in hedges

The cause of the fire on Renfrew Road is under investigation.

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

Okanagan Springtime Regatta draws more than 50 sailboats

Sailors treated to windy, excellent long weekend conditions on Okanagan Lake in Kelowna

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

Okanagan tattoo fundraiser draws tons of support

Lineup around the block in Vernon for start of Five Fathoms Tattoo event for Children’s Hospital

Carbon dioxide at highest levels for over 2.5 million years, expert warns of 100 years of disruption

CO2 levels rising rapidly, now higher than at any point in humanity’s history

Most Read