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USA. Saving lives by testing illicit drugs for secret, often-deadly ingredients

In a toxicology lab at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, a team of Brown University researchers has been testing samples labeled "biohazard" to discover the precise nature of their toxicity. The bags contain drug residue from discarded drug paraphernalia collected from harm reduction organizations in local communities. 

Once samples are tested, findings are disseminated through print flyers, social media posts and emails from the Rhode Island Department of Health. Results are also made available on PreventOversodeRI.org, the state's overdose dashboard developed through a partnership with the Brown School of Public Health. Sample donors are contacted and provided with information regarding the contents of the residue they submitted for testing. The results can be a surprise—to the sample testers and sample donors alike. (Brown University, USA, 29.07.2022)


USA. The NIDA-funded National Drug Early Warning System (NDEWS), Coordinating Center at UF 

The National Drug Early Warning System (NDEWS), funded to the University of Florida by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), provides the field with timely, salient, and valuable information on emerging substance use trends. (National Drug Early Warning System (NDEWS), Juli 2022)


Kanada. A Report on British Columbia’s Unregulated Drug Supply - Drug checking trends across British Columbia January to December 2021

BC Centre on Substance Use (BCCSU), Juni 2022


Australien. Australia's first fixed-site pill testing to open in Canberra in bid for harm reduction

The nation's first fixed-site pill and drug testing clinic will open its doors in the ACT on Thursday, in a bid to reduce the harm caused by drugs.

Key points:

+ The fixed-site pill-testing clinic is being launched as a six-month pilot

+ The ACT government says the site is aimed at reducing the harm caused by drugs through "evidence-based health interventions"

+ The ACT recorded the highest drug-induced deaths per capita in June

The CanTEST Health and Drug Checking Service will be located in Canberra's CBD and will offer the free, confidential testing of drugs. (abc.net.au, Australien, 19.07.2022)


Schottland. RADAR: Rapid Action Drug Alerts and Response

Radar, a system to collect, assess and communicate information about street drugs being used in Scotland. (Public Health Scotland, Schottland, Juni 2022)


Implementing drug checking as an illicit drug market intervention within the supply chain in a Canadian setting,

Bruce Wallace, Thea van Roode, Piotr Burek, Bernadette Pauly & Dennis Hore (2022)

Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy, DOI: 10.1080/09687637.2022.2087487


Australien. Drug checking among a sample of people who regularly use ecstasy and other illegal stimulants in Darwin, Northern Territory, 2019-2021

Cate King, Amy Peacock, Cassandra Wright and Rachel Sutherland

NDARC – National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, Australien, 2022


Take-home drug checking as a novel harm reduction strategy in British Columbia, Canada. 

Klaire S, Janssen RM, Olson K, Bridgeman J, Korol EE, Chu T, Ghafari C, Sabeti S, Buxton JA, Lysyshyn M. 

Int J Drug Policy. 2022 Jun 4;106:103741. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2022.103741. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35671687.


akzept e.V. Nachlese Fachtag Drug-Checking am 15.06.2022 in Frankfurt

Am 15. Juni 2022 fand in Frankfurt/Main die Fachtagung Drug-Checking statt. Sie wurde vom Bundesministerium für Gesundheit gefördert.

Die Beiträge der Referent*innen finden Sie nachfolgend hier – soweit sie zur Veröffentlichung freigegeben wurden.

akzept veröffentlichte gemeinsam mit Partner-Organisationen ein Positionspapier zur Einführung von Drug-Checking in Deutschland.

Die Vorträge:

Iciar Indave, EMCDDA: Drug-Checking in Europa

Daan van der Gouwe: DIMS – Dutch Market

Rüdiger Schmolke, Karsten Tögel-Lins: Stand der Dinge

Urs Köthner: Drug-Checking in Drogenkonsumräumen


Australien. Australia’s first fixed pill testing site to launch in Canberra with hopes of sparking a national initiative

Organisers say the centre is a ‘real watershed’ moment and will open two nights a week from 19 July. (The Guardian, UK, 25.06.2022)


UK. Is drug testing going to become a regular part of UK festivals?

The first festival season since the end of coronavirus restrictions is well underway - with festivalgoers looking forward to events like Glastonbury opening their gates for the first time since 2019.

While you'd expect to see stages, tents and bands at a festival, something you might not expect is the presence of a drug testing lab.

The Loop, which brings pop-up labs to festivals and other big events, will be at eight UK festivals this summer, in a scheme backed by local police forces. (ITV, UK, 15.06.2022)


UK. The UK’s first regular drug checking service set to launch in Bristol this month. 

The UK’s first Home Office licensed regular drug checking service is set to launch in Bristol this month, delivered by leading non-profit harm reduction organisation The Loop. In partnership with Bristol City Council, The Loop will be bringing its pioneering service, which combines personalised health advice with drug testing, to central Bristol. (The Loop, UK, 10.05.2022)


UK. Drug checking service The Loop launching in Bristol

The UK's first Home Office-licensed regular drug-checking service is launching in Bristol this month.

The Loop has previously run pop-up sites, including at music festivals. (BBC, UK, 12.05.2022)


Standards Drug Checking - Modul Früherkennung + Frühintervention

Infodrog, Schweizerische Koordinations- und Fachstelle Sucht, 2022


Kanada. Mobile illicit-drug testing pilot program coming to Calgary

The illicit drug screening program is expected to begin in Calgary in June

The Alberta Alliance Who Educate and Advocate Responsibly (AAWEAR) is bringing a first of its kind illicit-drug testing and education program to Calgary.

Thanks to $600,000 in funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada, and the support of the local business community, the group will be providing mobile testing that they say will save lives. (Livewire Calgary, Kanada, 02.05.2022)


Australien. Drug checking in Australia: how far do we have to go?

This presentation focused on drug checking or pill testing services, which have existed for over 50 years and now operate in more than 20 countries. Despite this long history, little research assessing feasibility or impact has been published in peer-reviewed journals. As more countries trial drug checking services, the number of peer-reviewed evaluations have grown. This seminar detailed key evidence in the literature and remaining scientific and practical questions remaining with a particular focus on the Australian context. (NDARC – National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, April 2022)


USA. ‘We’re done with dead kids’: U.S. bars are handing out free fentanyl tests

(…) Strips to test drugs for the presence of the deadly synthetic opioid are becoming more commonplace in bars, restaurants and venues as the country grapples with the opioid epidemic and soaring death toll. (Medscape, USA, 21.04.2022)


Australien. Groovin the Moo cancels pill-testing at Canberra musical festival after insurers pull out

Canberra's biggest music festival will not provide a testing service for illicit drugs after insurers backed out just days before the event. (abc.net.au, Australien, 20.04.2022)


Kanada. Harm-reduction group applauds Edmonton's push to explore drug-checking programs

An Edmonton-based organization that has offered drug-checking services at events since 2016 is pleased city council is looking at similar programs to address the drug poisoning crisis. (Edmonton Jopurnal, Kanada, 11.04.2022)


EMCDDA. Spotlight on... Drug checking

What is drug checking?

Drug-checking services provide individuals who use drugs with information on the chemical content of their drugs as well as advice and, sometimes, counselling or brief interventions. Service priorities vary and may include information collection, harm reduction and early warning. The analytical techniques used also vary: from sophisticated technology that is able to provide information on strength and content of a wide variety of substances, such as high-performance liquid chromatography and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, to methods that simply show the presence or absence of a particular drug, such as thin-layer chromatography and reagent test kits.

The sites at which testing occurs include drop-in services with fixed laboratories, where individuals and organisations can submit drugs for testing (with results days later), and mobile laboratories at festivals, clubs or drug consumption rooms, which provide almost immediate results.

An important aspect of drug-checking services is how the results are communicated to individuals and whether this is accompanied by harm reduction advice and brief interventions. (EMCDDA, Lissabon, 31.03.2022)


Warnmeldung: Hochpotente synthetische Opioide im Umlauf, z.T. enthalten in gefälschten Medikamenten

Aus Deutschland liegen Berichte zu mindestens drei Todesfällen vor, bei denen der Verdacht auf eine (Misch-)Intoxikation mit synthetischen Opioiden aus der Gruppe der Benzimidazole besteht. (National Early Warning System, Adebar, IFT München, März 2022)

Warnmeldung Hochpotente synthetische Opioide im Umlauf, März 2022

Adulterants in drugs of abuse: a recent focus of a changing phenomenon. 

Di Trana A, Montanari E. 

Clin Ter. 2022 Feb 7;173(1):54-55. doi: 10.7417/CT.2022.2392. PMID: 35147648.


Diverse psychotropic substances detected in drug and drug administration equipment samples submitted to drug checking services in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, October 2019-April 2020. 

Scarfone KM, Maghsoudi N, McDonald K, Stefan C, Beriault DR, Wong E, Evert M, Hopkins S, Leslie P, Watson TM, Werb D; Toronto’s Drug Checking Service Working Group. 

Harm Reduct J. 2022 Jan 11;19(1):3. doi: 10.1186/s12954-021-00585-2. PMID: 35012557; PMCID: PMC8748183.


The Bronze Age of drug checking: barriers and facilitators to implementing advanced drug checking amidst police violence and COVID-19. 

Carroll, J.J., Mackin, S., Schmidt, C. et al.

Harm Reduct J 19, 9 (2022). doi.org/10.1186/s12954-022-00590-z


See how heroin user tests drug for the presence of Fentanyl 

It's a little strip of paper not much longer than two inches, and it has the potential to prevent a drug overdose. CNN's Sanjay Gupta reports. (CNN, USA, 02.12.2021)


Schweiz. Ein Besuch im dib Bern von CONTACT Nightlife – Drug Checking: Wissen, was drin ist! (Video)

Das Angebot von dib (Drug Checking, Infos und Beratung) richtet sich an Erwachsene, die gelegentlich oder regelmässig legale oder illegale psychoaktive Substanzen konsumieren, wie z. B. Partypillen oder –pulver sowie Cannabis. (DIB-Bern, Schweiz, 26.11.2021)


Notes from the Field: Testing for Nonprescribed Fentanyl and Percentage of Positive Test Results Among Patients with Opioid Use Disorder - United States, 2019-2020. 

Niles JK, Gudin J, Vivolo-Kantor AM, Gladden RM, Mustaquim D, Seth P, Kaufman HW. 

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2021 Nov 26;70(47):1649-1651. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm7047a4. PMID: 34818316.


Neuseeland. Drug checking to be permanent after law passes third reading

Drug-checking services have been given the all-clear to keep testing the safety of illicit substances at festivals and other locations over summer. (RNZ, Neuseeland, 24.11.2021)


Kanada. Drug Checking: Shedding Light on Substance Use Issues 

How technologies and conversations are informing the discussion concerning substance use. (British Columbia Pharmacy Association, Kanada, 06.11.2021)


Drug Checking Services for People Who Use Drugs: A Systematic Review, 

Maghsoudi, N., Tanguay, J., Scarfone, K., Rammohan, I., Ziegler, C., Werb, D., and Scheim, A. (2021) 

Addiction. ddoi.org/10.1111/add.15734.