City checking: Piloting the UK's first community‐based drug safety testing (drug checking) service in 2 city centres

Measham, Fiona ORCID: 0000-0002-9322-1931
(2020) City checking: Piloting the UK's first community‐based drug safety testing (drug checking) service in 2 city centres. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 86 (3). pp. 420-428.

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Aims To explore the feasibility of delivering community‐based drug safety testing (drug checking), to trial service design characteristics and to compare with festival‐based testing. Methods In total, 171 substances of concern were submitted on 5 dates at 3 venues in 2 UK cities and tested using up to 6 analytical techniques. Test results and harm reduction advice were distributed directly to over 200 service users through 144 tailored healthcare consultations, to stakeholders, and through early warning systems, media and social media alerts. Results The 171 samples were submitted and identified as MDMA (43.3%), cocaine (12.9%), ketamine (12.9%), various psychedelics submitted by students, and heroin and a synthetic cannabinoid submitted by rough sleeping communities, with 76% of samples' test results as expected. The 144 primary service users identified as 91.7% white, 68.1% male, with an average age of 26.7 years. Reported harm reduction intentions included alerting friends and acquaintances (37.5%), being more careful mixing that substance (35.4%), lowered dosage (27.8%), disposal of further substances (6.9%) and additionally 2.8% handed over further substances for verified destruction. Conclusion Community‐based drug safety testing (drug checking) was piloted for the first time in the UK—within a drugs service, a community centre and a church—with consideration given to meso‐level operational feasibility and micro‐level behavioural outcomes. Service design characteristics such as venue, day of week, prior publicity, service provider, and direct and indirect dissemination of results all may impact on outcomes. Future studies should consider cost–benefit analyses of community and event‐based testing and context‐appropriate macro, meso and micro‐level evaluations.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Community-based, Drug checking, Drug safety testing, Festivals, Harm reduction, UK
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 12 May 2020 10:22
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2023 23:52
DOI: 10.1111/bcp.14231
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