It was a busy week for drug checking at ANKORS in Nelson. They were in Grand Forks on Tuesday and in Trail on Wednesday for testing – the rest of the week was spent in Nelson. Please find details in attached report.
All communities of Interior Health
Multiple drug samples in communities across the region have been found to contain Up to 55% fentanyl (Average is +/- 10%).
Up to 25% of benzodiazepine (Average is +/- 1 to 2%) has also been detected in some samples.
The samples have been sold as “down”, heroin, or fentanyl – a wide range of colours and textures have been identified.
High risk of overdose with severe complications including death. Substances containing benzodiazepine can cause prolonged sedation (several hours).
Naloxone does not work on Benzos, BUT naloxone will work on the opioid overdose symptoms. After giving breaths and naloxone, the person may begin breathing normally, but may not wake up. More doses of naloxone should only be given if the person is not breathing normally (less than 10 breaths a minute). If the person is breathing normally but remains unconscious, place in recovery position and stay with them until emergency services arrive.
No matter what or how you use (smoking, snorting, injecting) take steps to prevent overdose
- Know the risks when mixing drugs
- If you must use while alone, consider using the Lifeguard app which can connect you with 911 emergency responders if you overdose. Download at the App Store or Google Play.
- When using your substance start with a small amount, and then go slow.
- Use with others or at an Overdose Prevention or Supervised Consumption Site, if one is near you.
- Know how to respond to an overdose – call 911, give rescue breaths and naloxone.
Here is a link to download a printable version of this poster.
Testing ketamine highly recommended for West Kootenay Communities!
A white crystalline powder with the appearance of ketamine is circulating in the West Kootenays. Sold as ketamine or K, it actually tests as an intermediate chemical for the synthesis of opioids with nothing else detected. There is no history of human use for this substance and thus, we are not able to tell what dangers may be associated with it. According to people who have tried it, it has no noticeable effect.
There has also been occurrence of this unusual chemical appearing mixed together with ketamine. This means that even if the ketamine you have seems to have some effect, there is still a risk of taking a substance with no record of it having been tried by humans.
To see pictures of the ketamine tested, check out the results page by clicking here.
We highly recommend testing your Ketamine, especially if it has been acquired recently!
ANKORS in Nelson is open for testing:
Monday and Thursday, as well as sometimes Wednesday depending on mobile testing hours
9:30-4:30, with a break for lunch from 12-1
Samples can be dropped off anytime.
ANKORS also has a mobile testing operation! Learn more about it here: Drug checking comes to Grand Forks, Castlegar, and Trail!
It was a busy week for drug checking at ANKORS in Nelson. They were in Grand Forks on Tuesday and in Trail on Wednesday for testing – the rest of the week was spent in Nelson. Overall, ANKORS tested 25 samples: nine samples in Grand Forks, six in Trail, and ten in Nelson. The substances were as follows: 12 down samples, seven MDMA samples, five methamphetamine samples, and one ketamine sample.
The BCCSU publishes Provincial and regional monthly reports that summarize drug checking results. Here is the December 2021 report from samples collected by Drug Checking Sites across the Interior Health region.
The percentage of opioids testing positive for benzodiazepines in the region fell slightly (64%, 27 of 42
samples) from last month, but trends may be hard to infer due to the small number of samples over a large
region. Etizolam, the predominant benzodiazepine in expected opioids, may be missed by drug checking
technologies. This means that the true rate may be higher than reported here.
1 sample of cocaine tested positive for fentanyl and an alert was issued.
Find the full report here.
Did you know that our friends at ANKORS have a mobile drug checking service that stops in Grand Forks, Castlegar and Trail? The current schedule is below.
Grand Forks – Every 1st & 3rd Tuesday at the Gospel Chapel
Castlegar – Every 2nd & 4th Tuesday at The Way Out shelter
Trail – Wednesdays – the third Wednesday of the month at the United Church (with the pop-up OPS) and the two Wednesdays before at the Community Inclusion Centre
Need more information? Call ANKORS at 236-972-7080 / 250-505-5506 or send them an email.
This week 8 samples were tested in Trail. The down samples were fairly typical for these days, with average fentanyl proportions. One sample that was of sold as ketamine was actually methamphetamine. The sample was sold and bought in Calgary, and therefore these results may not pose serious concern to people who are using drugs in the Kootenay/Boundary or Interior Health region. However, it serves as a reminder to have your drugs checked before using, start with a small amount, and use with a buddy or in an overdose prevention site/supervised consumption site.
• The percentage of opioids testing positive for benzodiazepines in the region rose sharply (68%, 42 of 62 samples) from last month, but trends may be hard to infer due to the small number of samples over a large region. Etizolam, the predominant benzodiazepine in expected opioids, may be missed by drug checking technologies. This means that the true rate may be higher than reported here.
• Heroin was detected in 17.7% of down samples in the Interior Health region in 2018 and 2019, but only 1.8% of down samples in 2021.
Read the full report.
ASK Wellness Society in collaboration with Interior Health is hosting a FTIR Spectroscopy which will be operate five days a week. This means, our community has access to in-depth drug checking as a harm reduction tool. To ensure success of the program and uptake in the community, the FTIR will be available in the community two times a week for in-person testing (using COVID safety measures).
- Mondays at Victory Shelter (starting Nov 8)
- Wednesdays at Compass House and Martin St. Outreach Centre (starting Nov 3)
- Sunday-Thursday Burdock House (for clients only due to COVID)
Sample drop-off locations are also available at Victory shelter, Compass House, Martin St. Outreach Centre, Burdock House and SOWINS Centre.
Drug checking results will be posted weekly to ASK Wellness Society Penticton Facebook page.
A special thank you to the UBCO HaRT team who supported community based FTIR testing in Penticton over the last year. The HaRT team will continue to be providing FTIR services to Foundry Penticton on the last Friday of the month.
FTIR Penticton poster – help spread the word!
This week at ANKORS there were a few notable substances and findings. An MDMA sample that was actually MDA. This trend of MDA being sold and bought as MDMA is concerning, but not entirely uncommon. This situation has the potential to cause additional harm, especially when the individual using the substance is not aware of the differences between MDA and MDMA. Another sample tested was expected to be etizolam, but was actually flubromazepam. Flubromazepam is a benzodiazepine with an extreme duration; effects for larger doses can reach up to three days. Read the full report.