Just last week, meth was found to contain fentanyl in Penticton, prompting a warning for overdoses in the community. (File Photo)

Interior Health rolling out take-home fentanyl detecting test strips for drugs

In Penticton, the strips will be available from the SOWINS mobile drug testing

  • Feb. 10, 2020 5:30 p.m.

Interior Health is rolling out take-home strips that can detect whether drugs contain fentanyl.

“Because of the stigma that still surrounds addiction, many people die from overdose alone and at home,” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “Giving people a simple, convenient way to check if their drugs contain fentanyl may help them avoid an overdose, and reduce the number of lives lost to the unpredictable and toxic drug supply.”

The strips will be available from Interior Health’s drug testing locations, which can be found www.drugchecking.ca. In Penticton, there is not currently a permament testing site listed, but the South Okanagan Women In Need Society offers mobile testing on Tuesday and Thursday from 5 to 9 p.m. and Wednesday and Friday from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. Testing can be arranged by contacting mobile@sowins.com or calling 250-809-7054.

READ MORE: Fentanyl found in meth prompts overdose alert in Penticton

With a dangerous batch of meth having recently hit the streets, it’s important to know what is in the drugs that people are using.

Interior Health executive director Roger Parsonage, explained for many people, there’s a certain amount of shame associated with their addiction, which makes it challenging for them to access drug-checking services at health care facilities.

“With these take-home drug checking strips, they can now make informed, safer choices – this service has the potential to save lives,” he said.

The take-home strips offer an alternative for those who wish to avoid the stigma or shame associated with going to a drug testing site or service.

According to Jessica Bridgeman, the harm reduction coordinator with Interior Health clients have been asking for take-home test strips

“This is one more tool among other strategies we have implemented to address the ongoing opioid overdose crisis,” said Bridgeman. “Take-home drug checking can be particularly helpful to those in rural and remote communities who may not have access to other overdose prevention services.”

A small amount of a drug is mixed with a few drops of water, the test strip is inserted into the solution, and a positive or negative for fentanyl is revealed within seconds.

Additional sites where the test strips will be available are in Vernon, Kelowna, Kamloops, Merritt, Cranbrook and Nelson.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


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