FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHY DOES LANTERN SERVICES EXIST?
In the past, drug checking in Canada has only been done in a night life setting such as Shambhala Music Festival. Groups like ANKORS have been leading the way with community driven harm reduction initiatives for many years.
British Columbia - and indeed the rest of Canada - is in the throes of rising numbers of overdose deaths and issues relating to substance use. In response, the BC provincial health minister declared a public health emergency in 2016. This crisis is due to a variety of complex factors, one of which is an unregulated illicit drug supply.
Due in part to this public health crisis, drug checking is becoming more established outside of the night life setting. One of the largest institutions to provide this service is the BC Center on Substance Use (BCCSU). They established the first site in Canada to offer drug checking at a supervised consumption site in Vancouver's Downtown East Side named Insite.
The University of Victoria has recently received a federal Substance Use and Addiction Program (SUAP) grant to implement and evaluate a variety of drug checking instruments here in Victoria.
Lantern Services aims to be a safe, comfortable place where people can have open non-judgmental conversations about substance use. Our hope is to reduce the stigma involved with substance use, allowing people to ask questions and receive help if needed. This initiative will give individuals the information they need to make informed decisions regarding their health.
WHAT ALLOWS YOU TO DO THIS? ISN'T HANDLING ILLEGAL SUBSTANCES... ILLEGAL?
Lantern Services has been granted a Section 56 Exemption for handling controlled substances by Health Canada. This is a novel application of this exemption, as previously it was reserved for laboratory research.
This exemption allows us to legally accept and test substances from service users as well as host new instruments for research and development. We hope to provide new insights and tools to assist with various areas relating to substance use.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO USE THESE SERVICES?
All services provided at Lantern Services are offered free of charge. This is because we believe all people should have access to knowledge, with no barriers to service.