OTTAWA, Dec. 13, 2017 /CNW/ - Health Canada is advising Canadians of the potential limitations when using test strips todetect fentanyl in street drugs.
A preliminary study undertaken by Health Canada indicated that false negatives could occur when using fentanyl-detection test strips. A false negative would be a test result that does not detect the fentanyl
Take necessary precautions if you use drugs
Health Canada is urging Canadians to treat all illegal drugs as potentially contaminated and to take the necessary precautions if they are using drugs, such as:
In the event of an overdose:
Don't be afraid to seek emergency help if you or someone you are with is experiencing overdose-like symptoms. Canada's Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act protects individuals who seek emergency help for an overdose from charges of simple possession, as well as breach of conditions related to simple possession as it relates to pre-trial release, probation order, conditional sentence or parole.
Help is available if you, a friend or a family member are struggling with a substance use disorder.
Limitations of Test Strips in Detecting Fentanyl
Canada is currently facing a public health crisis because of an increasing number of opioid-related overdoses. Health Canada is aware that some individuals and organizations may choose to use test strips to detect fentanyl, as part of harm reduction measures.
Some individuals and organizations are using test strips to detect fentanyl by dissolving a small amount of drugs in a solution. These test strips have not been designed for direct use by consumers in this way, which could lead to false negative results.
Health Canada's Drug Analysis Service has undertaken a preliminary study to compare the accuracy of a fentanyl test strip product against our more accurate laboratory technology. Results to date are very preliminary, but do show that there is a possibility for a small number of false negatives. More research on this issue is needed.
Health Canada is committed to investing in research to improve drug-checking technologies, and to inform on-going discussions on this harm reduction practice. Health Canada will also continue to support access to drug-checking services at approved supervised consumption sites that wish to provide this service, where individuals have access to personnel who are trained in overdose response.
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SOURCE Health Canada
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