The UK’s first city centre drugs testing service was rolled out last weekend in Bristol by The Loop, a pioneering non-profit drugs information service.
The scheme is supported by local police and the council and follows similar schemes in other European countries, where drugs can be tested anonymously without fear of prosecution. The pop-up lab tested the strength and quality of drugs provided to it by users.
Based on the samples they received, the Loop were able to advise users, inform local health services, alert regional early warning systems, and contact the public directly via social media, about the particularly harmful drugs identified by the lab.
After the substances were tested, each service user received a ‘brief intervention’ from a trained drugs worker along with individually tailored advice on the risks and harms involved with consuming the substance.
Commenting on the launch, Jeff said:
“Keeping people safe demands more than zero tolerance rhetoric around drugs.
The UK has become the drug-related death capital of Europe and the drugs coming onto the illicit market are more potent and more toxic than ever before.
It is for precisely these reasons that the work The Loop started in Bristol is so vital.
Too often, we have taken too little action far too late to reduce the harm associated with drug taking.
Hopefully this will be the summer that we get ahead of the curve, and keep people safe.”