What is Toronto's drug checking service?

People who use drugs in Toronto have long advocated for access to drug checking in an effort to reduce the harms associated with using drugs from the unregulated supply.

Launched in October 2019, Toronto’s drug checking service offers people who use drugs timely and detailed information on the contents of their drugs, helping them to make more informed decisions.

This drug checking service also helps to uncover the makeup of Toronto’s unregulated drug supply, which includes illegal drugs, as well as legal drugs diverted from regulated markets for sale through criminal channels. Information on Toronto’s unregulated drug supply is made publicly available.

How do I get my drugs checked?

Toronto’s drug checking service is free, anonymous, and available to everyone. Accepted samples include a substance (10 mg of powder, crystals, rocks, or a pill, blotter, or a small amount of liquid) and drug equipment after it’s been used (a used cooker or filter, or leftover liquid from a syringe).

Samples are collected at five harm reduction agencies in Toronto where supervised consumption services are also offered, known as collection sites:

Results are available within a business day or two and are communicated to service users by harm reduction staff in person or by phone. Along with these results, service users receive tailored harm reduction supports, guidance, and referral to services (e.g., supervised consumption, naloxone training, primary health care).

How does Toronto’s drug checking service work?

Samples are transported from the harm reduction agencies where they are collected to a nearby laboratory at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health or St. Michael’s Hospital, known as analysis sites, to be analyzed.

Toronto’s drug checking service uses mass spectrometry technologies (gas and liquid chromatography). These sophisticated lab-based technologies offer detailed information about which drugs are found in each sample, along with some information about how much of each drug is present.

Toronto’s drug checking service is one of a few pilot projects that received funding from Health Canada to prevent overdose. This service operates by way of exemptions from the Government of Canada’s Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

Who is involved in Toronto’s drug checking checking service?

Members: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health | Moss Park Consumption and Treatment Services | Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre | South Riverdale Community Health Centre | Toronto Public Health | Unity Health Toronto

Partners: Four Counties Addictions Services Team (Peterborough) | Peterborough Public Health

Collaborators: Alliance for Collaborative Drug Checking | British Columbia Centre on Substance Use | Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction | Health Canada’s Drug Analysis Service | Health Canada’s Office of Controlled Substances | META:PHI | National Safer Supply Community of Practice | Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario | Ontario Harm Reduction Network | Ontario Poison Centre | Public Health Ontario | Toronto Harm Reduction Alliance | Toronto Opioid Overdose Action Network | Toronto Paramedic Services | Vancouver Island Drug Checking Project

Funders: Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program | St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation

Toronto’s drug checking service works closely with service users, and people who use drugs more broadly, to ensure the program meets the needs of the community it is intended to serve.


We acknowledge our service users, the members of our community advisory board, our partner organizations, and those that have lost their lives – both in the ongoing drug poisoning crisis and long before – due to policies of drug criminalization.

We acknowledge that the land on which we operate Toronto’s drug checking service is the traditional territory of many nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat peoples, and is now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples.

We acknowledge that racialized communities and survivors of colonization are disproportionately impacted by unjust drug policies. We strive to support the development of equitable drug policies that are responsive to the needs of racialized people who use drugs – including Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour – and their communities.

We acknowledge that many of the samples we check are linked to both fatal and non-fatal overdose, as well as adverse health events that impact individuals, families, friends, loved ones, and entire communities. We wish to acknowledge the people and pain behind the numbers we share.