Since cannabis legalization in 2018, regulations surrounding it and other controlled substances have increased exponentially. With this influx, the demand for access to safe drug testing has also increased in tandem.
Luckily, one local Vancouver dispensary has implemented a specialized program to meet this call, providing a safe space for community members while promoting compassion, openness, inclusivity, freedom of judgement or pre-established stigma. Its sole purpose is to help reduce the harms associated with drug use.
The Medicinal Cannabis Dispensary places safety at the forefront of its priorities through its Get Your Drugs Tested (GYDT) initiative operating out of its 880 East Hastings Street location. First launched in 2019, GYDT has become the world’s busiest free street drug testing centre.
It is also the only place for users to have their drugs analyzed seven days a week, by mail or in person for drug testing Canada. To date, the GYDT site has analyzed over 30,000 samples.
Additionally, its privately-funded East Hastings location is also recognized as an Overdose Prevention Site, helping users make more informed decisions while also creating accountability in the supply chain.
In this same realm, the initiative also distributes free harm reduction supplies, including Safer Sex to Safe Drug Use kits, as well as Naloxone training and free take-home Naloxone kits.
How does it work?
Get Your Drugs Tested is a fast, safe, free and anonymous service that accepts drug samples in person and by mail, with results coming back in as quickly as 10 minutes.
The program uses a specialized machine called an FTIR spectrometer to test samples, as well as immunoassay test strips, which check for potent substances such as fentanyl or benzodiazepines. GYDT operates on a first-come, first-served basis, taking 10-15 minutes on average for results to come back.
However, wait times may vary depending on specific daily demand and traffic. Users can receive their test results in person, by email, or over the phone, with all results published on the GYDT website in its informative database.
While in-person visits are more localized to Vancouver, the program offers drug testing nationwide through the mail. Mailing information is available by contacting Info@GetYourDrugsTested.com.
For those preferring to visit in person, the 880 East Hastings location is open for sample drop-offs from 12 to 8 p.m. daily.
While the service itself is free, the program is always open to donations, with all of its funding derived from cannabis purchases at The Medicinal Cannabis Dispensary storefront located at 1182 Thurlow Street in the heart of Davie Village.
It is also crucial to note that the drug testing itself does not guarantee that a drug is safe to use and that the FTIR spectrometer and immunoassay test strips may not be able to detect all unexpected or dangerous substances or contaminates.
Ultimately, compassion, understanding, and community support lie at the heart of this initiative. As a point of care service, Get Your Drugs Tested exists to help users make informed decisions surrounding the substances they choose to use while providing available access to resources, education and testing performed by empathetic, caring and knowledgeable staff.
For more information on the GYDT program and the complete list of drugs that can and cannot be tested, visit getyourdrugstested.com.