Drug Checking

PI: Serge Brochu (Institut universitaire sur les dépendances, QC)

Leadership Group: Carole Morissette & Pascale Leclerc (Santé publique de Montréal, QC); Dan Werb (St. Michael’s Hospital, ON); Em Pijl (University of Manitoba, MB); Jean-Sébastien Fallu (Université de Montréal, QC); Karen McCrae & Priya Patel (BCCSU, BC); Nazlee Maghsoudi (Centre on Drug Policy Evaluation, ON); Shelby Young (Indigo Harm Reduction Services, AB); Bryce Koch (Project Safe Audience, MB);  Jorge Flores-Arranda (Institut universitaire sur les dépendances, QC)

The purpose of this thematic area is to facilitate the implementation and delivery of drug checking programs. This project is composed of five sub-projects.

Drug Checking Services in Canada: A Review of Existing and Developing Services

Drug checking services already or soon to be implemented in Canada will be documented and described in order to describe the development of Canadian drug checking services, present a variety of service models, and evaluate changes in the landscape over time. Objectives include:

  • Identify all drug checking services currently available and in-development to provide a comprehensive picture of the situation in Canada, identify gaps in implementing drug checking services across Canada, develop a baseline report for public dissemination, develop a web platform and forum to facilitate the exchange and dissemination of information (such as results from this project’s activities) between service providers involved in this activity
  • The results of this activity will be used to inform the type of feasibility survey to be conducted in activity 3 (see below)

The Implementation of Drug Checking Services for People Who Use Drugs: A Systematic Review

Given the recent interest in drug checking services to address the increasing incidence of overdose fatalities, there is an urgent imperative to identify and synthesize the existing literature. Undertaking this systematic review will provide critical information to audiences engaged in research, practice, and policy. Objectives include:

 Identify the impacts of, and outcomes associated with, drug checking services on drug-related behaviours, identify the use of drug checking services for street drug market surveillance, identify models of delivery of drug checking services, serve as a resource and tool on existing evidence on how drug checking services influence people who use drugs, and disseminate and distribute a narrative synthesis of the review

Feasibility survey across Canada

The results of activity 1 will be used to inform the type of feasibility survey to be conducted. As each province is differently impacted by the opioid crisis and is at different stages of implementing drug checking services, feasibility surveys may be conducted to determine: a) drug users’ interest and willingness to use drug checking services, and their perceived barriers and facilitators in utilizing drug checking services; and/or b) frontline providers’ interest and willingness to provide drug checking services, and their perceived barriers and facilitators in providing these services.


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