The Government of Saskatchewan has expanded access to fentanyl and benzodiazepine drug testing strips and is now available to the general public in Moose Jaw for the purpose of at-home drug checking.
Crescent View Clinic is one of 30 locations across the province that have strips available for the public.
According to the provincial government, of the 149 confirmed accidental drug overdose deaths in Saskatchewan in 2021, 108 involved fentanyl.
Mixing benzodiazepines, also known as benzos, with opioids can also increases the risk of overdose because both have sedative properties. Naloxone, which normally reverses the effects of an opioid overdose, is not effective in counteracting benzos.
"The tragedy of overdose and toxic street drug deaths continue to be a heavy burden on our communities," Mental Health and Addictions Minister Everett Hindley said. "Our government remains committed to expanding addictions services, and providing widespread access to drug checking strips is one way to save lives."
A negative result on a test strip, however, does not guarantee that the substance is safe. These test strips only check for certain fentanyl and benzo compounds in the drug that was tested. It will not detect other drugs or the amount of fentanyl or benzos present in the drug.
You can find all the locations that are supplying drug testing strips at saskatchewan.ca/overdose.
The Ministry of Health asks all those using street drugs to not use alone. Use the buddy system or call the National Overdose Response Service at 1-888-688-6677. Naloxone kits to reverse opioid overdoses are available throughout the province. Visit saskatchewan.ca/opioids for more information.
In the event of an overdose, call 911. Under the Good Samaritan Act, you will not be charged for possession of an illegal substance if you are calling for assistance during an overdose.