Do You Know What’s In The Substance You Use?

We are pleased to inform everyone that Sanguen Health Center and the Consumption and Treatment Services (CTS) site now has a drug checking device created by Western University that uses raman spectrometry – laser light – to test your drugs.

Inside a nondescript black cube no bigger than two shoeboxes, there is sophisticated technology that can analyze the composition of street drugs in under fifteen minutes. The aim is to allow those who use drugs at safe consumption sites to understand what dangerous fillers and other drugs like fentanyl analogues might be in their sample, so they can make informed decisions about their use.

The technology, developed by startup company SCATR Inc. with the support of Western University infrastructure, is being rolled out at 11 safe consumption sites across Ontario, Nova Scotia and B.C. thanks to a new grant from Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program (SUAP) announced by Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions.

Chemistry professor Francois Lagugné-Labarthet (left) is working with a startup company called SCATR Inc., founded by Western grads Ari Forman, BSc’20, (centre) and Alex Boukin.

SCATR Drug Testing

How Does The Testing Work?

In order to test, you only need a very small amount: 2mg, or the size of a half of a match head. Your sample is not affected through the testing process, so you get it back, unharmed, after the test.

You have the choice of a short scan or a longer (approximately 15 minute) scan that is more thorough. You will receive your results while you wait! The whole process is confidential.

Why Testing?

Testing provides people who use drugs a way to have more information about the substance they’re planning to use. When the machine tests your substance, the device can tell you the strength, what other kinds of drugs/substances may be present, as well as the cut used.

The overdose crisis has shown that there is a very toxic drug supply locally and that it is cut with an array of different drugs and chemical fillers that may add to the drugs’ toxicity.

For example, you may think you have purchased an opiate and not be aware that there are benzodiazepines or methamphetamines in it. Cocaine is also a common drug that can be laced with opiates or methamphetamines.

The drug checking device can inform you of many of the different substances that are in your sample.

Testing your drugs gives the power back to you! You can now make an informed decision about whether to use the drugs you have tested.

If your sample comes back with an unknown substance in it, you can choose to have us send it to Western University for further testing. This will help our software to learn these new, unknown substances, which in turn will make the drug testing machine more knowledgeable. This extra process will take roughly two weeks. Your name or identity will not be disclosed.

Please note: the device isn’t 100% accurate due to how unevenly dispersed your batch of substance might be. One sample from your batch may be different from another area of the same batch.

Substances that can be tested

Anything in powder, rock, crystalized, tablet or the inner contents of a capsule. We cannot test cannabis or liquid substances at this time.

Time & availability

Walk-ins are welcome! You can also call, text or email to book a time.

We will run on a 3 week rotation:

October – November 2023:

  • Week #3-Oct 2-6: Mon 10:30am-5:30pm, Tues-Thur 2:30-8:30pm Fri 1:30-6:30pm
  • Week #1-Oct 10-14 :Tues-Sat-2:30-8:30pm
  • Week #2-Oct 17-21: Tues-Sat-2:30-8:30pm
  • Week #3-Oct 23-27:Mon 10:30am-5:30pm, Tues-Thurs 2:30-8:30pm Fri 1:30-6:30pm
  • Week #1-Oct 31- Nov 4: Tues-Sat -2:30pm-8:30pm
  • Week #2-Nov 14-17:Tues Sat 2:30pm-8:30pm

This service is an extension of the CTS at 150 Duke St. West in Kitchener, ON

Please call or text (226) 789-1719 for inquiries or to book a time or Email: Drugchecking@sanguen.com