This week at ANKORS we tested a large variety of down samples of varying colours. The fentanyl content of these samples was consistent with recent trends, at about 10%. What is more concerning, however, is that all of the down samples tested positive for benzodiazepines using benzodiazepine test strips.
When used with fentanyl or other opioids, benzodiazepines have synergistic effects. Down samples with benzodiazepines or their analogues can increase the chance of overdose, and often cause atypical overdose responses. Benzodiazepines do not respond to naloxone; therefore it is important to give breaths when responding to an atypical overdose. Please continue to encourage people who are using drugs to have their drugs checked, to start slow, and to refrain from using alone.
While drug checking can help reduce the risk of using drugs by allowing users to make better informed decisions, please recognize that the use of FTIR spectrometry and test strips has limitations. Notably, the FTIR cannot detect substances that are present in small amounts or substances that are absent from the reference database. No drug use is completely safe, and checking your drugs does not eliminate all risk.
On Wednesday this week, ANKORS set up a pop up OPS and testing site next to the United Church in Trail. It was successful for a first event, not only to help folks get their stuff tested and consume drugs in a safer environment, but also to connect together people involved with the opioid crisis in the region! On top of that, it gave an opportunity for the local population to see what these services can bring to the community.
In Trail, we tested typical samples of side (Methamphetamine) and Down (Fentanyl or analog).
Notable finds include:
A brown powder looking like compact cacao powder, tested as having a strong concentration of fentanyl as well as presence of benzodiazepine. Please tread cautiously if you see this one around, as it looks like a mixture that could easily create a situation of overdose that is hard to deal with.
A sample that was recurring was a beige chunky substance that tested low in fentanyl but still gave strong effects, as anecdotally reported by those who were getting it tested. It could contain a potent analogue of Fentanyl. It tested negative for benzos.
As for ANKORS in Nelson, we tested samples of MDMA that were actually MDA. This is a great reason to come in and use the drug checking service!
We are open for testing next Wednesday but are closed for National Reconciliation day on the Thursday. As always, safe and discrete 24/7 drop off is available through our mailing slot in an envelope with some contact info.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions
The percentage of opioids testing positive for benzodiazepines in the Interior Health region (38%, 21 of 55 samples) fell slightly from
last month, however its hard to know if this is a trend. Etizolam, the most common benzo found in opioids may be missed by drug checking technologies so the true rate may be higher than reported here.
• 1 sample of MDMA purchased in Cranbrook was actually down containing fentanyl. Many drugs look alike—drug checking can help you confirm what you think you have.
Get your drugs checked before using.
Read the full report.