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Table 2 Selected quotes by themes

From: The potential impacts of community drug checking within the overdose crisis: qualitative study exploring the perspective of prospective service users

Themes Selected quotes
Who benefits? “It would work well for anybody, anybody who is using drugs, I think. Women, youth, men, everybody. Everybody who needs it, who needs to know. (INTV F2)
“And then you’d get the parents that are really informed that would show up. Like ‘Yeah, I want to know what my kid’s into. So, if he does go down I know what I can do to help him stay alive’” (INTV F9).
“Well you definitely want to know what you’re selling. You don’t want to kill anybody. You don’t want to, you know, be selling heroin and have no heroin in it” (INTV B1).
“It would be beneficial to me because I sell drugs. Not huge quantities, just to my friends so that they’re safe, in my building, so that they’re safe. This way, it will be an even better, this will make me feel more better about selling my product, because I’m always worried that I’m going to sell pure fentanyl and kill someone. It really upsets me. The reason that I do sell is because a lot of my friends were dying because they were getting pure fentanyl, and I wanted to be one of those that sold a product that helped with their pain, like heroin, and to get high. Not pure fentanyl where you’re not going to wake up. So this way I’d be able to, like if I got a different product, I’d be able to get it tested so that I know the product I have that I’m going to be selling to other people is safe, and that’s wonderful to me” (INTV F1)
What are the potential benefits?
 • Individual level: Drug checking to improve health and wellbeing of people who use substances “The only way you can really tell is when you’re actually doing it” (INTV B2).
Overall, people want to know “if it’s what they’re actually buying and not, um, something a lot more deadlier or something that they’re allergic to that they didn’t intend on buying” (INTV P5).
“It’s harm reduction, knowing what you’re putting in your body, injecting in your body. If it’s bad or if it’s going to harm you. It’s going to reduce the harm, yeah. That’s why I get it drug checked, because I don’t want to put …, something that’s not normal, I won’t be using that product.” (INTV F1)
You know, if it’s a lot more fentanyl then I’ll end up smoking it more, rather than shooting it, right?” (INTV B3).
“I think that it’s bringing in drugs that we’ve brought in from the street to get checked and make sure that they are what they say they are. I know I’ve had really, really bad experiences and gotten what I thought was heroin and it ended up being ketamine and I’d never done that before and it was a horrible, scary trip. So I personally like to get mine checked. You don’t know who it’s coming from. … I’m just too scared that I’m going to get some bad drugs and something really horrible is going to happen.” (INTV F2)
“I tried the service a few times and it made me feel a lot more at ease to know that drugs that I was using was what I thought it was for safety and just for my wellbeing, it really helped me a lot” (INTV F1).
 • Market level: Drug checking to increase quality control in an unregulated market “I would know like, where the bad drugs were coming from? Because now it’s random. Right? So it’s like, it’s not consistent. Like, if every time I got drugs, or pretty well close to every time I got drugs, I got them tested, I would be able to find out which person is giving out more fentanyl, or more heroin, or more carfentanil, and then I would stop going to them and start going to like, you know what I mean? I’d be able to figure out which source I’d want to go to right?” (INTV B2)
“If I know a product I’ve brought in has got, say, mostly fentanyl in it, I’m not going to be buying that. I won’t be going back to that guy. If it’s mostly some cut that’s garbage, of course I’m not going to be going back. … It’s mostly to find out A) if it’s going to work, if it’s good dope, which is what we all want. The dealers want it, the buyers want it, I think we all want it. We want to know what’s in it because if we can tell people what’s in it, then they will stick to…if I can tell my people, “This is 50% heroin and it’s got some caffeine and this and that,” if I can tell them that, then they’re going to want to keep going through me.” (INTV F1)
“In a way, they do have control of some of it because if they didn’t buy off the other guy, let’s say the bigger guy, the bigger block, then the bigger block would get smaller. And if the bigger block gets smaller, then the bigger block has to change their stuff, to stay the same or get bigger. Nobody wants to go smaller. You go smaller and you’re small enough, they wipe you off the planet and you won’t be doing it anymore.” (INTV F6)
“I think in a sense it might make people who are dealing the drugs think a little bit more about what they’re putting into the drugs because they know that they could be tested. And people will be pissed if they find out that they spent x amount of dollars for something that only contains half of the active ingredients or, you know, they thought they were getting heroin and then all they got was pure fentanyl. So I think it would change – you know, it holds people who are – which I know people who are processing and selling the drugs don’t have a lot of morals anyways, I think it would at least, they would know they could get caught on the crappy cuts that they’re making at least.” (INTV F17)
 • Community level: Drug checking to create healthier environments “Well what’s going to be good is if you can convince the world that it is a good thing. Like you know, convince people that it’s, it’s not all about junkies, and street homeless people, and bums, and drug addicts. You know what I mean? It’s about everybody. Even a parent who is worried about their child doing drugs. Because I know, I know a parent that, his son is an addict. Right? He’s in his twenties, he’s an adult. But still, his dad, you know, whenever his son comes up dope sick and wants to get some dope, his dad will go get it for him. And his dad’s been using the service in here. Like that’s totally a rare situation, but still. You know, he never would have done that before. But since there is that drug checking and it made him comfortable for him to do that for his son. You know, because he doesn’t want to see his son hurting, but he doesn’t want to give his son money because all the times he’s done that, every time he gives his son money, he’s been picking him up from the hospital for overdosing.” (INTV B3)
“it’s an actual moral issue. Most people have not had respect. They’ve been raped, beaten and put down their whole life … if it took one person’s kindness to bring me back, what if they showed one person kindness, how many would come back? It would be frickin’ amazing” (INTV F4).
 • Policy level: Drug checking to mediate policies around substance use “Legalization is a huge part of drugs, that’s why there’s shit in them. So yeah, we need everybody involved in the drug world. The government, everything” (INTV F5).
“It’s a human right. A person drinking would expect it, a person having a tea would expect it. A person drinking water would expect it. Why can’t we?” (INTV F4).