Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

By Scott Douglas Jacobsen

In the midst of the opioid crisis in British Columbia, and arguably across Canada, Vancouver is testing a first-of-its-kind drug examination device.

The drug testing device may help in the reduction of opioid associated overdoses and deaths.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and the British Columbia Addictions Minister Judy Darcy made an announcement about the machine.

This pilot for the device will be through Insite and Powell Street Gateway. It is called the Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectrometer (FTIR).

The new device has the ability to have individual submit anonymous samples of street substances in order to be tested for potential opioid content.

You can also test for stimulants, MDMA, and other drugs. These substances can be today found within minutes. Also, all supervised injection sites within British Columbia will now have Fentanyl test strips, according to Darcy.

She said, “Tackling this overdose crisis takes a whole province … it will take an entire province to turn this around.”

In the province, so far, more than 1,100 people have died based on illicit substance use overdoses.

In September alone, there have been 80 suspected elicit overdose deaths, which is up more than 30% from September in 2016.

Also, the ministry is beginning to ramp up the campaign to reduce stigma. More than nine out of 10 people who are dying from overdoses are using substances while at home, alone.


CBC News. (2017, November 10). Drug testing machine to be piloted in Vancouver as overdose crisis continues. Retrieved from

Scott Douglas Jacobsen founded In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal.