Pilot project’s initial results show fentanyl, other substances found in Vancouver street drugs
published on May 17, 2018 by Gemma Karstens-Smith - The Canadian Press in The Globe and Mail
Street drugs in Vancouver are often not as advertised, according to new data from a drug-checking program.
Initial results from the pilot project show that more than 60 per cent of the substances tested at two supervised consumption sites between November and April didn’t contain any of the drug that people had expected.
The findings were particularly stark when people brought in what they thought was heroin, with 88 per cent of those samples testing positive for the illicit opioid fentanyl, said Dr. Ken Tupper with the B.C. Centre on Substance Use.
“When people are buying these, particularly opioids, and they’re being told by their dealer that they’re getting heroin, they’re generally not,” he said. “In Vancouver, it seems like the heroin supply has very much been supplanted.”
Many of the “heroin” samples were actually fentanyl cut with caffeine and a sugar substitute, Tupper said.
The BC Coroners Service has said fentanyl was detected in about 83 per cent of the over 1,400 overdose deaths last year in the province.
The drug-checking program was launched last November in a bid to stem the overdose rate. The centre used fentanyl test strips and a portable machine that examines small samples of illicit drugs for contaminants.
The first six months of the program saw 1,714 samples tested and the B.C. Centre on Substance Use said in a release that 61 per cent of those samples did not contain the drug the user expected.View the full article