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Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction

Drug Checking Working Group

CCSA acts as secretariat for the national Drug Checking Working Group. Formed in 2015, the group provides a nationwide platform for communication and learning among drug checking initiatives as technologies evolve, service models are being tested and new jurisdictions take up drug checking. 

The Drug Checking Working Group is made up of service providers, researchers and policy makers interested in developing, implementing and scaling up harm reduction services across Canada. Members also include representatives from health authorities, provincial and municipal governments, and Health Canada. The working group currently includes representatives from services in British Columbia, the Yukon, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec. 

The Drug Checking Working Group has inspired and enabled several key initiatives and collaborations, and regularly contributes information to the Canadian Community Epidemiology Network on Drug Use.  It continues to improve coordination and collaboration among drug checking services and helps develop and sustain existing and new services across Canada.

Partners and Collaborators

Partners and Collaborators

The following organizations are currently represented on the Drug Checking Working Group.

Location Service/Organization

Yukon Territory

Blood Ties Four Directions

British Columbia

B.C. Centre on Substance Use, University of Victoria, AIDS Network Kootenay Outreach and Support Society, B.C. Ministry of Health


Ministry of Health


Manitoba Harm Reduction Network


Centre on Drug Policy Evaluation, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto Public Health, TRIP!, Oasis, HAMSMaRT-K6, Ontario Harm Reduction Network


Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux du Centre-Sud-de-l'Île-de-Montréal, Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux de l'Outaouais, Grip, Elixir, Centre Sida Amitié, Association des intervenants en dépendance du Québec


Health Canada, Drug Analysis Service and Substance Use and Addictions Program


Life Labs (British Columbia, Ontario)

Supporting Documents

Supporting Documents

Document name Date published Description
National Drug Checking Working Group: Summary of In-person Meeting 2019 Summarizes an October 2018 meeting of the National Drug Checking Working Group about drug-checking services as a response to the emergency around illicit drug overdoses in Canada. Twenty-four members of the group present and discuss active and emerging projects and how to move forward.
Adulterants, Contaminants and Co-occurring Substances in Drugs on the Illegal Market in Canada: An Analysis of Data from Drug Seizures, Drug Checking and Urine Toxicology 2020 Provides a snapshot of the contents of drugs on the illegal market in Canada using 2018–2019 data from drug seizures, drug checking services and a drug monitoring study. This technical report accompanies the April 2020 CCENDU bulletin, outlining data collection methods and results in more detail.
Adulterants, Contaminants and Co-occurring Substances in Drugs on the Illegal Market in Canada (CCENDU Bulletin) 2020 Provides a snapshot of the contents of drugs on the illegal market in Canada using 2018–2019 data from drug seizures, drug checking services and a drug monitoring study. This bulletin is accompanied by a technical report featuring detailed research methods and data.
Changes Related to COVID-19 in the Illegal Drug Supply and Access to Services, and Resulting Health Harms (CCENDU Alert) 2020 Summarizes preliminary information about the impact of COVID-19 on the illegal drug supply, the provision of harm reduction services and the associated health impacts for people who use drugs. Data were compiled from multiple sources across Canada between March 31 and May 10, 2020.
Preventing Drug- and Alcohol-related Harms at Music Festivals in Canada 2015 Summarizes approaches to preventing drug- and alcohol-related harms at Canadian music festivals. The report highlights the importance of event organization and design, promotion of health, reduction of harms, mass gathering medicine, enforcement and event security.
Substance-related Harms at Canadian Music Festivals from May to July 2017 (CCENDU Bulletin) 2017 Presents the results of interviews with individuals who provided harm reduction or medical services at music festivals held in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec between May and July 2017. Presents information about alcohol, ecstasy, GBH and ketamine, and notes that there were no reports of opioid overdoses.
Drug-related Harms at Canadian Music Festivals, June to August 2014 (CCENDU Bulletin) 2014 Summarizes possible drug-related harms that occurred at Canadian music festivals between June and August 2014. The bulletin provides an overview of the number of attendees and the suspected number of drug-related deaths and illnesses.

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