Education Series

Substance Checking

Test your drugs on site

Substance Checking, or “Drug Testing” is a harm reduction measure that allows people to get a better idea of what is or isn't in a sample of a drug. There are a few different ways to check substances, including test strips, reagent kits and spectrometers. The amount of sample needed and if you get the sample back, depends on the method. Learn more about substance checking technologies, and what can and cannot be checked here. 

Bass Coast has FTiR machines, fentanyl and benzo test strips and reagent testing on site. Technicians can test any substance with a chemical makeup. They cannot test any plant-based substances (i.e. cannabis,mushrooms).Substance checking is located beside the Harm Reduction Space. They are open 1230-1130pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday. 

Fentanyl is a strong opioid prescription painkiller. To put its strength into perspective, think of Tylenol #3, which contains Codeine. Codeine is 1/10 as strong as Morphine. Fentanyl, by comparison, is 50 -100 times stronger than Morphine.

Illicitly produced fentanyl is sold as pills or powder and is being mixed with heroin, oxycodone, and occasion­ally stimulants. Fentanyl pills disguised as oxycodone, known as "green jellies,"  "fake 80's,"  or "street oxy," are turning up across Canada.

Fentanyl is a Central Nervous System (CNS) depressant. Our CNS regulates essential functions like breathing. Drugs like fentanyl disturb the CNS' ability to regulate the body's essential functions. Fentanyl can cause respiratory depression which means a person isn't breathing enough to meet  the body's demands,  or stops breathing entirely. Because fentanyl is so strong it only takes a VERY small amount to make this happen. Fentanyl is much more potent and therefore more likely to lead to overdose than heroin or oxycodone.

The drug called Naloxone can reverse the effects of opioid/opiate overdose if given in time.  If overdose is suspected, seek medical attention immediately. If you're at a  festival, find someone with a radio to get first aid if the person is unable to get themselves to the first aid tent.

No. Doing a stimulant like cocaine actually INCREASES how much oxygen your body needs, while the fentan­yl diminishes your body's ability to detect that increased need.

There is no easy way to tell  if  pills or  powders  have  been  contaminated  with fentanyl,  however, there  are  ways to minimize the risk of overdose:

  • Never use drugs alone
  • Start with a small dose, especially if you have a new source
  • Ensure that you have access to naloxone (an opiate antidote) so it can be administered if you get into trouble
  • If you or your friends are using ANY substance at a music festival, note the location of the first aid tent before consuming.

Anything can be laced, cut with, or contain enough traces of fentanyl to cause overdose. Fentanyl is rather inexpensive, but potent. People making illicit drugs may mix it into other substances so that the user feels a "high" with less of the expensive substance used, thus increasing their profit potential.

Opiate/opioid drugs are prescribed by a doctor to help alleviate the pain caused by a medical  condition or injury. When used as ordered, they can be very effective pain killers. In addition to pain management, people may also use them due to dependence. People may also choose to acquire them and use them in social situations, as they enjoy the high they produce.

Prescribed - they have a condition for which their doctor has ordered opiate/opioid painkillers. Street Acquired - purchasing prescription drugs off a dealer for pain management or recreational/social use. Accidental ingestion- the pill or powder they purchased was laced or cut with fentanyl, which was not a substance they intended on taking

There is no way to tell if your pressed pill or powder contains fentanyl.