Free and confidential drug testing facility opens in Victoria
(Piotr Burek / Twitter)
VICTORIA -- A new drug testing site has opened in Victoria's North Park neighbourhood.
The facility, called the Vancouver Island Drug Checking Project, is operated by Substance UVic and can test drugs confidentially and for free. The items are tested for substances other than what a person might expect to find in the drug they bring in, such as fentanyl or benzodiazepine.
The drug testing service moved to its storefront location at 1802 Cook St. on Monday. It's open from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m., Mondays through Fridays.
Besides offering free drug checks, people can learn more about harm reduction, drugs in the region and drug checking at the site.
According to the Vancouver Island Drug Checking Project's website, the facility's goal is to improve safety and support people impacted by the province's overdose crisis in a safe and respectful environment.
Last year was the deadliest year for overdose deaths in the province's history. In Victoria alone, overdose deaths nearly doubled last year.
Last week, the B.C. government and the Vancouver Island Construction Association announced a new program to address addictions among construction workers and trade workers.
In 2018, approximately 44 per cent of all people who had a fatal overdoses were employed, according to the BC Coroners Service. Of that total, more than 50 per cent worked in the trades or transport industries.