UBC employs new drug testing technology at Shambhala Music Festival

A person crouches while looking at a computer screen next to robotic equipment. Another person looks over.
Volunteers at Shambhala Music Festival set up the drug testing equipment. Photo courtesy of The Hein Lab.
Scott Onyschak - CJLY - KootenayBC | 19-07-2023
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The University of British Columbia has teamed up with Shambhala Music Festival to test out new technology that they are saying could be the future of drug testing.

This technology improves upon other portable drug testing methods available today, according to UBC, as current methods “require technicians and can’t detect more than five compounds in a sample at a time or specify the levels of any substance below five per cent,” according to UBC.

Dr. Jason Hein, leader of the project, stated, “highly potent substances like carfentanil can be lethal in small amounts, so it’s important to know how much of it is present in a drug. Providing anonymous, low-barrier drug checking services could help save people’s lives.”

Shambhala Music Festival, located in Salmo, BC is an annual electronic music festival known for its harm reduction services as well as being a gathering place for recreational drug users.

Dr. Jason Hein joined CJLY to discuss this technology and its use at the Shambhala Music Festival. Listen to the story below: