In 2018, Health Canada’s Impact Canada Initiative launched a drug checking technology challenge calling for the creation of a rapid, accurate, easy to use, and low-cost device or instrument that could be used with minimal training and sample preparation. The ultimate goal is to benefit frontline service providers and people who use drugs by providing critical information on the drug supply and thereby reduce overdose risk.

The CDPE’s Executive Director, Dr. Dan Werb, and Dr. Drew Hall from the University of California San Diego were one of three finalists for their smartphone-based portable drug checking device to detect the presence of toxic adulterants – including opioids – in drugs from the unregulated supply. The technology, DoseCheck, uses electrochemical analysis of a drug sample and then transmits data to a dedicated app that provides users with information about their sample. This information is then aggregated to uncover trends in the composition of the unregulated drug market and provide alerts across communities and geographic areas about adulterants in the unregulated drug supply. To capture trends in the unregulated drug supply, the technology employs sensors that can be updated to identify emerging adulterants.

Financial Supporters

Health Canada


St. Michael’s Hospital | University of California San Diego

Project Contact

Dr. Dan Werb