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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)

https://www.itv.com/news/2022-06-15/is-drug-testing-going-to-become-a-regular-part-of-uk-festivals

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)

https://wearetheloop.org/media-centre/bristol-drug-checking-service

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)

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-bristol-61409174

Standards Drug Checking - Modul Früherkennung + Frühintervention

Infodrog, Schweizerische Koordinations- und Fachstelle Sucht, 2022

https://www.infodrog.ch/files/content/nightlife/de/2022_standards-drug-checking_modul-ff.pdf

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)

https://livewirecalgary.com/2022/05/02/mobile-illicit-drug-testing-pilot-program-calgary/

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)

https://ndarc.med.unsw.edu.au/resource/drug-checking-australia-how-far-do-we-have-go

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)

https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/were-done-with-dead-kids-us-bars-hand-out-free-fentanyl-tests-2022-04-20/

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)

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-04-20/pill-testing-cancelled-for-groovin-the-moo/101002974

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)

https://edmontonjournal.com/news/local-news/harm-reduction-group-applauds-edmontons-push-to-explore-drug-checking-programs

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)

https://www.emcdda.europa.eu/spotlights/spotlight-drug-checking_en

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.

https://www.clinicaterapeutica.it/2022/173/1/11_DI_TRANA.pdf

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.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/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

https://harmreductionjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/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)

https://edition.cnn.com/videos/health/2021/12/01/fentanyl-test-strip-sanjay-gupta-pkg-lead-vpx.cnn

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)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUp8PSb0WvM

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.

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7047a4.htm

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)

https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/political/456416/drug-checking-to-be-permanent-after-law-passes-third-reading

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)

https://www.bcpharmacy.ca/tablet/fall-21/drug-checking-shedding-light-substance-use-issues

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.

Abstract

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/add.15734

USA. NPS Discovery: Welcome to our premier open-access drug early warning system! 

Our evidence-based approach leads the development of high impact reports for real-time action.

ABOUT US: The Center for Forensic Science Research and Education (CFSRE) is working in collaboration with law enforcement, public health, and public safety agencies to rapidly identify emerging drugs, also known as Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS), associated with intoxications and adverse events. The information, reports, and resources consolidated here by the CFSRE allow for the rapid dissemination of information to stakeholders and affected communities. (NPS Discovery, USA, 2021)

https://www.npsdiscovery.org/

USA. Recommended Scope for NPS Testing in the United States

Purpose: The objective of this report is to provide updated guidance in developing an appropriate analytical scope of testing for novel psychoactive substances (NPS) in the United States based on current trends and intelligence. This report is based on information available in Q3 2021 and is subject to change along with the drug market. (NPS Discovery, USA, Oktober 2021)

https://www.npsdiscovery.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Q3-2021-NPS-Scope-Recommendations_NPS-Discovery_110221.pdf

Neuseeland. Festival drug-checking services get a boost 

The Government is financially supporting drug-checking services to help keep young people safe at this summer’s large festivals and events, Health Minister Andrew Little says.

“This is not about condoning drug use, but about keeping people safe,” Andrew Little said.

“There is clear evidence that having drug-checking services at festivals changes behaviour and reduces harm.” (beehive.govt.nz, Neuseeland, 23.10.2021)

https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/festival-drug-checking-services-get-boost

Kanada. British Columbia Centre on Substance Use – Drug Checking Results

Themenseite

https://drugcheckingbc.ca/dashboard/

Xylazine detected in unregulated opioids and drug administration equipment in Toronto, Canada: clinical and social implications. 

Bowles, J.M., McDonald, K., Maghsoudi, N. et al.

Harm Reduct J 18, 104 (2021). doi.org/10.1186/s12954-021-00546-9

https://harmreductionjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12954-021-00546-9

Thüringens Gesundheitsministerin will „Drug-Checking“ verstetigen

Erfurt – Geht es nach Gesundheitsministerin Heike Werner, wird es das sogenannte „Drug-Checking“-Projekt in Thüringen auch 2022 geben. „Wir wollen das weiterführen“, sagte die Linken-Politikerin heute in Erfurt bei der Vorstellung erster Ergebnisse. Im neuen Haushalt seien daher wieder Gelder beantragt worden. „Wir wissen, dass wir mit Analyse, Aufklärung und gezielter Beratung von Konsumentinnen und Konsumenten viel erreichen können“, sagte Werner. (aerzteblatt.de, 14.10.2021)

https://www.aerzteblatt.de/nachrichten/128190/Thueringens-Gesundheitsministerin-will-Drug-Checking-verstetigen

Australien. An Australian First – Fixed Site Pill Testing Announced

Pill Testing Australia (PTA) and Harm Reduction Australia (HRA) are pleased to advise that approval has been given by the ACT Government to pilot Australia’s first ever fixed site pill testing service. (PillTesting Asutalia, Australien, o8.10.2021)

https://pilltestingaustralia.com.au/an-australian-first-fixed-site-pill-testing-announced/

Drug use at music festivals: reducing harm and protecting health and well-being

Trinity research provides vital evidence to underpin new government approaches to harm reduction for drug use at music festival. (Trinitzy College Dublin, Irland, 11.10.2021)

https://www.tcd.ie/news_events/articles/festival-drug-use-reducing-harm-and-protecting-health-and-well-being/

Results from a mobile drug checking pilot program using three technologies in Chicago, IL, USA. 

Karch L, Tobias S, Schmidt C, Doe-Simkins M, Carter N, Salisbury-Afshar E, Carlberg-Racich S. 

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2021 Aug 28;228:108976. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2021.108976. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34536717.

Abstract

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34536717/

Commentary on Andersen et al.: Time for drug checking for heroin users?. 

Scott, J., and Henderson, G. (2021) 

Addiction, 116: 3113– 3114. doi.org/10.1111/add.15610.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/add.15610