Pubdate: Sat, 04 Mar 2017
Source: Ottawa Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Megan Gillis
Page: 4


AIDS Committee of Ottawa offering strips to test urine

A project launched this week by the AIDS Committee of Ottawa is
offering urine test strips that reveal to people who have used drugs
whether they've been unwittingly exposed to the powerful opioid fentanyl.

"We're hoping to give community members a free and simple way to find
out whether or not they've been exposed to fentanyl through recent
substance use and we're also hoping, if we can, to collect a bit of
data on what those results might be," explained ACO harm reduction
co-ordinator Caleb Chepesiuk.

"We also want to get a greater conversation going about drug quality,
drug use and the interventions to reduce those risks."

The Where's the Fent? project offers a free, anonymous way for people
to check whether they've been exposed while trying to get a better
idea of the situation in Ottawa, where public health officials and
first responders have warned of the dangers of bootleg fentanyl in
counterfeit pills and street drugs.

ACO plans to collect the results of those people who are willing to
fill out a short form - no name is required - to create a report on
their findings.

If people who use the strips are "angry, scared, confused" about the
results, organizers of the project urge them to "talk to us first!

"We strongly encourage people not to use these test results to accuse
or threaten someone you may have gotten the drugs from. Your safety is
important!" Fentanyl has been found lacing street drugs from heroin to
cocaine and in pharmaceutical lookalikes, such as the counterfeit
Percocets police believe were taken by 14-year-old Chloe Kotval, who
overdosed on Valentine's Day. Police are also investigating the death
of another west-end teen who they suspect also consumed counterfeit

The test strips and a urine cup are available at the ACO's Main Street
office, where users Police believe fentanyl is what killed 14-year-old
Chloe Kotval, inset, who overdosed on Valentine's Day. can take the
test on the spot or take it home.

The test, which reveals results within minutes, must be used within 36
hours of using the substance and the sooner the better because some
people's bodies clear fentanyl faster than others'. It only detects
fentanyl and fentanyl analogues that our bodies turn into a substance
called norfentanyl.

Organizers warn that a negative test doesn't rule out exposure to
another opioid or adulterant. The test doesn't pick up so-called novel
opioids like the even-stronger carfentanil or U-4770.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt