Vancouver Coastal Well being, supporting the initiative, will assist in offering the provides without cost, by way of the BC Centre for Illness Management.
Vancouver Coastal Well being, the regional well being authority that gives well being providers to Better Vancouver, has begun supporting the The Medicinal Hashish Dispensary (TMCD), within the Downtown Eastside, of their effort to supply much-needed hurt discount providers and provides without cost, in one of many areas hardest hit by the opioid disaster.
The Medicinal Hashish Dispensary at 880 East Hastings provides a free drug-checking service as a part of its Get Your Medication Examined (GYDT) hurt discount program and it’ll quickly be offering free provides for safer drug use similar to clear needles and alcohol swabs, along with provides to encourage safer intercourse like female and male condoms and lubrication
The free drug assessments can be found seven days per week through drop-in and are carried out on an FTIR (Fourier-transform infrared) spectroscopy machine, and in the event you can’t be there in particular person, it’s also possible to ship your substances through the mail.
Dori Dempster, the manager director of The Medicinal Hashish Dispensary, informed CLN that:
“We’re the primary non-public group, to my understanding, to buy a drug testing machine like this and provide not solely the drug check service, however the outcomes of these assessments to most of the people.
It’s not simply in regards to the occasional unhealthy dope alert; individuals are really in a position to go surfing and see what plenty of totally different substances are arising as.”
Dori mentioned the connection took place after a dialogue with officers from Vancouver Coastal Well being and the BC Centre for Illness Management (BCCDC), which runs the distribution program for hurt discount provides.
VCH spokesperson Tiffany Akins informed CLN that “Vancouver Coastal Well being is working to set [TMCD] up with provides from the BC Centre for Illness Management”, saying:
” We would like individuals utilizing medicine to have entry to hurt discount provides so now we have informed The Medicinal Hashish Dispensary it can’t cost purchasers for these provides.
Dori confirmed that they’re now providing the drug check service and provides without cost.
[Editor’s note: previously, Get Your Drugs Tested asked for $5 donation to help cover the costs of running the drug tests.]
The help from VCH and BCCDC was a welcome shock for Dori and the Get Your Medication Examined group, as she mentioned:
“Once we first began this program for Get Your Medication Examined, we totally anticipated to be funding this solely on our personal.”
Testing MDMA, cocaine… and Viagra?
When you’ve ever puzzled how pure the MDMA or cocaine is in Canada, the GYDT check outcomes present an enchanting look that the general public usually doesn’t get to see as a result of normally, when the media talks in regards to the tainted drug provide, it’s with blanket warnings that contaminated avenue medicine are being discovered.
Compared, GYDT can present you on a case by case foundation what’s within the substance being examined. The check outcomes are then posted on-line the place anybody can see them, and in a method, GYDT offers a small snapshot of the drug provide in Vancouver and the remainder of Canada that with an information set that updates day by day. Within the few months that this system has been working, it has already obtained and analyzed lots of of samples.
And it’s not simply cocaine and MDMA that’s being examined both. Dori says that you just’d be stunned how continuously individuals ship in Viagra.
As she says:
“We’re usually testing Viagra! Whereas some individuals don’t consider Viagra as a celebration drug, lots of people use it recreationally and it’s fascinating to see the check outcomes of that little blue tablet as a result of typically you’re seeing that it’s 70% of Sildenafil, the energetic ingredient, and different occasions, it may be as little as 5%- with the remainder being caffeine.”
She stresses that “no matter what you’re doing, you need to get what you’re paying for and that’s why individuals are bringing it in.”
“Get Your Medication Examined” coming to a city close to you
When you’re not within the Vancouver space, your solely choice for the time being is the mail-order service, however Dori hopes with the acquisition of a second FTIR machine, that can quickly change.
As she mentioned:
“It’s going to permit us to have one machine onsite and one that can journey round and do testing at festivals and different group occasions across the area.”
However the Get Your Medication Examined program has already been exterior of BC as they had been invited to supply their providers on the July 5 Awake Astral Harvest close to Edmonton, Alberta.
As phrase spreads across the nation, the way forward for GYDT is obvious for Dori:
“Our final plans are to be accessible to any group in Canada who desires to have us- we simply have to determine the right way to get there.”
Does the hurt discount program have an effect on TMCD‘s battle with the town to promote cannabis?
The Medicinal Hashish Dispensary has two areas in Vancouver- the Hastings location we’ve talked a lot about, and one other within the West Finish on Thurlow- however solely the Hastings location has been designated a satellite tv for pc hurt discount centre as a result of that’s the place they’re doing the testing and offering the free hurt discount provides.
The Hastings location ceased all cannabis gross sales on June 5, whereas the Thurlow location continues to supply members with the much-needed cannabis merchandise which are more and more onerous to search out as cannabis entry in Vancouver continues to worsen and worse.
Dori says what they’re doing on the Hastings location means they don’t have to fret in regards to the authorities coming in and shutting them down as what they’re doing there’s “firmly within the hurt discount space, which is actually excellent news for us and hurt discount total.”
However she acknowledges the bizarre place that TMCD is in as they battle the Metropolis of Vancouver to remain open as a cannabis dispensary whereas on the similar time receiving a lot help from Vancouver Coastal Well being for his or her hurt discount efforts.
As she defined:
“We’re in a courtroom battle and now we have to attend for to finish earlier than we all know whether or not the dispensary will ever be a dispensary once more.
We’re going to take that half because it comes as a result of if we ever bought permission to place the dispensary again into the Hastings location, I consider it’s one thing that we’d need to do as a result of it’s our roots.”
However even with the help of Vancouver Coastal Well being and the BC Centre for Illness Management, Dori says that they nonetheless have work to do to assist officers perceive the connection between cannabis and hurt discount, like cannabis’ potential in treating opioid withdrawals, for instance.
As Dori factors out:
“Hashish is a a lot safer selection for individuals so far as leisure substances go. I’m excited as a result of the dialog is altering and we get to maintain doing good in our group.”
And there are indicators that issues are altering.
“We’re being acknowledged as a singular and “novel” service and I feel it’s an excellent signal of what’s to return.”
Again in Could 2019, TMCD proprietor Dana Larsen launched Get Your Medication Examined, a drug check program the place anybody might ship in a small sample- about 1 milligram or 0.01 grams- of a substance within the mail to be examined in an FTIR machine. The outcomes are then emailed again to the sender and in addition posted on-line.
On June 5, The Medicinal Hashish Dispensary ceased cannabis gross sales at its 880 East Hastings St. location to adjust to a courtroom order and since then, TMCD has expanded the attain of the Get Your Medication Examined program to drop-in drug assessments on the Hastings location, along with the mail-order service already accessible Canada-wide.
Featured picture courtesy of Rafal Gerzsak and the Globe and Mail.