The province of Saskatchewan is providing money for drug testing devices that harm reduction agencies hope will save lives.
Spectrometers will allow frontline workers to test substances that clients of Prairie Harm Reduction in Saskatoon bring in to use at the safe consumption site.
“What people think they are getting is not always true and the risk of fentanyl being in substances in incredibly common,” says Executive Director, Kayla Demong.
“Close to 100 percent of everything we’re testing is coming back positive for fentanyl.”
Demong says substance users know that toxic substances are in the drug supply across Canada, and are concerned about what they’re consuming.
“Having this machine on site-the safe consumption site-is just another tool that allows our staff to provide education to people and lessen the risk of drug poisoning happening,” she says.
According to the province’s coroner’s service, there were 421 confirmed and suspected drug toxicity deaths in 2022 – up from 410 in 2021.