Beyond a spec: Assessing heterogeneity in the unregulated opioid supply

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Gozdzialski, Lea
Louw, Rebecca
Kielty, Collin
Margolese, Ava
Poarch, Eric
Sherman, Miriam
Cameron, Fred
Gill, Chris G.
Wallace, Bruce
Hore, Dennis
This study assesses the consequence of drug heterogeneity and sampling of consumer level opioid purchased in Victoria, British Columbia (n=21, 50–100 mg each) on quantitative fentanyl results determined from testing with paper spray mass spectrometry. This study found that the variability in fentanyl concentration from drug heterogeneity and sampling is greater than that attributed to the analytical technique. On a practical level, this provides data to help guide communication of limitations of drug checking services, supporting the aim of trust and transparency between services and people who use drugs. However, if drug checking services continue to be restricted from fully engaging with the reality of manufacturing, buying, selling, mixing and dosing practices, the accuracy, usefulness, and impact will always be limited.
This article was originally published as: Gozdzialski, L., Louw, R., Kielty, C., Margolese, A., Poarch, E., Sherman, M., Cameron, F., Gill, C., Wallace, B., & Hore, D. (2024). Beyond a spec: Assessing heterogeneity in the unregulated opioid supply. Harm Reducation Journal, 21, 1-9.
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