Presenting author: Bruce Wallace
Presenting author biography:
Bruce Wallace is a professor at University of Victoria’s School of Social Work, a Scientist with the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research (CISUR) and co-leads the Vancouver Island Drug Checking Project aka Substance (https://substance.uvic.ca).
A distributed model of drug checking in response to overdose
Bruce Wallace, Lea Gozdzialski, Chris Gill, Dennis Hore
We present a distributed model of community drug checking that addresses multiple barriers to increasing the reach of drug checking as a response to the illicit drug overdose crisis. This includes an integrated software platform that links a multi-instrument, multi-site service design with online service options, a foundational database that provides storage and reporting functions, and a community of practice to facilitate engagement and capacity building. The distributed model eliminates the need for technicians at multiple sites while still providing point-of-care results with local harm reduction engagement and access to confirmatory testing online and in localized reporting. It also reduces the need for training in the technical components of drug checking (e.g. interpreting spectra) for harm reduction workers. Moreover, its real-time reporting capability keeps communities informed about the crisis. Sites are additionally supported by a Community of Practice. Our project contributes innovations in drug checking technologies and service design that attempt to overcome current financial and technical barriers towards scaling-up services to a more equitable and impactful level and effectively linking multiple urban and rural communities to report concentration levels for substances most linked to overdose.