Drug Checking
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Author(s):  
Jo-Hanna Ivers ◽  
Nicki Killeen ◽  
Eamon Keenan

Abstract Background Festival drug-related deaths are a growing public health concern. Aim To examine drug use and related harm-reduction practices and attitudes towards utilisation of drug safety testing services. Methods Data collection took place over the 2019 festival season (June–October). The questionnaire was self-reported. Data was gathered via the online survey, which was promoted through online and social media platforms and outlets. Social media communication methods were used to reach the targeted population more effectively. Results A total of 1193 Irish festival attendees over the age of 18 completed an anonymous online survey. Alcohol, MDMA powder/crystals, ecstasy pills and cocaine were the highest reported drugs used by Irish festival attendees. The vast majority of participants reported polysubstance use (86.8%/n = 1036). Forty percent of participants (39.98%/n = 477) reported having had sex following the use of a drug at a festival; of these, 66% (n = 316) said that the sex was unprotected. Most participants (84.0%/n = 1003) engaged in some form of harm reduction when taking drugs at festivals. Overwhelmingly, participants reported a willingness to engage with drug-checking services. The vast majority (96.3%; n = 1149) and would use drug checking services more than three-quarters (75.1%/n = 897) reported that they would use an ‘amnesty bin’ for drugs if it were part of an alert system to notify if dangerous drugs are in circulation. A chi-square test of Independence was conducted to examine whether age and utilisation of drug safety testing service a festival were independent. Moreover, when all cases are taken together, the difference between testing modalities (onsite, offsite and amnesty bin) shows a significant difference p < 001 between those who would use onsite and offsite drug testing facilities. Conclusion The evidence from this survey indicates that those young people who use drugs at festivals would be prepared to utilise drug checking services and amnesty bins should help inform the public health response to this important area.


2021 ◽  
Vol 18 (1) ◽  
Author(s):  
Ashley Larnder ◽  
Piotr Burek ◽  
Bruce Wallace ◽  
Dennis K. Hore

Abstract Background Drug checking uses chemical analytical technologies to analyze drugs from the unregulated market to reduce substance use-related risks. We aim to examine the frequency of third party use of a community drug checking service to explore the potential for harm reduction to extend beyond the individual into the community, increase service accessibility, and to contribute to upstream interventions in the supply. Methods Over 31 months, data were collected from a point-of-care drug checking service operated in Victoria, Canada. Through the implementation of survey questions at the intake of the service, data were collected about whether the drug check was for the individual, to sell, and/or for others. Results Just over half (52%) of service users were checking for reasons that extended beyond individual use. When checking for others, friends were the most common response, representing 52% of responses, and outreach/support workers checking for others was the second most at 32%. Twelve percent of service users reported checking to sell or for a supplier. Conclusions Third party checking is a frequent, and important aspect of drug checking services, which through facilitating community engagement and increasing accessibility, has expanded the reach of interventions beyond individuals to reduce risks within the unregulated market. Therefore, drug checking as an overdose response should be responsive and accessible for those using the service on the behalf of others.


2021 ◽  
pp. 009145092110354
Author(s):  
Jennifer J. Carroll

Drug checking is an evidence-based strategy for overdose prevention that continues to operate (where it operates) in a legal “gray zone” due to the legal classification of some drug checking tools as drug paraphernalia—the purview of law enforcement, not public health. This article takes the emergence of fentanyl in the U.S. drug supply as a starting point for examining two closely related questions about drug checking and drug market expertise. First, how is the epistemic authority of law enforcement over the material realities of the drug market produced? Second, in the context of that authority, what are the socio-political implications of technologically advanced drug checking instruments in the hands of people who use drugs? The expertise that people who use drugs maintain about the nature of illicit drug market and how to navigate the illicit drug supply has long been discounted as untrustworthy, irrational, or otherwise invalid. Yet, increased access to drug checking tools has the potential to afford the knowledge produced by people who use drugs a technological validity it has never before enjoyed. In this article, I engage with theories of knowledge production and ontological standpoint from the field of science, technology, and society studies to examine how law enforcement produces and maintains epistemic authority over the illicit drug market and to explore how drug checking technologies enable new forms of knowledge production. I argue that drug checking be viewed as a form of social resistance against law enforcement’s epistemological authority and as a refuge against the harms produced by drug criminalization.


2021 ◽  
Author(s):  
Scott A. Borden ◽  
Armin Saatchi ◽  
Gregory W. Vandergrift ◽  
Jan Palaty ◽  
Mark Lysyshyn ◽  
...  

2021 ◽  
pp. 108976
Author(s):  
Lydia Karch ◽  
Samuel Tobias ◽  
Clare Schmidt ◽  
Maya Doe-Simkins ◽  
Nicole Carter ◽  
...  
Keyword(s):  

Author(s):  
Tim Hirschfeld ◽  
Laura Smit-Rigter ◽  
Daan van der Gouwe ◽  
Simon Reiche ◽  
Heino Stöver ◽  
...  

Abstract Purpose of Review With the continuous emergence of new psychoactive substances, drug checking (DC) services are challenged by an increasingly complex drug market. Considering the resumed scientific and public interest in serotonergic psychedelics (SPs) like LSD, psilocybin, and 2C-B, we present the results of a literature search investigating the presence and proportion of SPs in DC samples. Recent Findings In 15 identified reports, submission and detection rates of SPs were comparably low, but increasing. Samples contained considerable amounts of adulterations or analogues, mostly novel SPs with unknown toxicological profiles and in some cases potentially life-threatening effects. The detection of SPs, however, requires advanced analysis techniques currently not available to most DC services. Summary Given the substantial proportion of novel SPs in DC samples and the associated risks, DC can be a valuable harm reduction and monitoring tool for SPs if analysis techniques with high sensitivity are employed.


2021 ◽  
Author(s):  
Kristy Scarfone ◽  
Nazlee Maghsoudi ◽  
Karen McDonald ◽  
Cristiana Stefan ◽  
Daniel R Beriault ◽  
...  

Abstract BackgroundThe opioid overdose crisis has generated innovative harm reduction and drug market monitoring strategies. In Toronto, Ontario, Canada, a multi-site drug checking service (DCS) pilot project was launched in October 2019. The project provides people who use drugs with information on the chemical composition of their substances, thereby increasing their capacity to make more informed decisions about their drug use and avoid overdose. DCS also provides real-time market monitoring to identify trends in the unregulated drug supply. MethodsSample data were obtained through analyses of drug and used paraphernalia samples submitted anonymously and free of charge to DCS in downtown Toronto from October 10, 2019 to April 9, 2020, representing the first six months of DCS implementation. Analyses were conducted in clinical laboratories using ultra high performance liquid chromatography-high resolution mass spectrometry (UPLC-HRMS), and liquid chromatography or gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS, GC-MS) techniques. ResultsOverall, 555 samples were submitted, with 49% (271) of samples that were found to contain high-potency opioids, of which 87% (235) also contained stimulants. Benzodiazepines or related drugs were also found in 21% (116) of all samples, and synthetic cannabinoids in 1% (7) of all samples. Negative effects (including overdose) were reported for 12% (69) of samples submitted for analysis.ConclusionsToronto’s DCS identified a range of high-potency opioids with stimulants, benzodiazepines and related drugs, and a synthetic cannabinoid, AMB-FUBINACA. This information can inform a range of evidence-informed overdose prevention efforts.


2021 ◽  
Vol 18 (1) ◽  
Author(s):  
Tara Beaulieu ◽  
Evan Wood ◽  
Samuel Tobias ◽  
Mark Lysyshyn ◽  
Priya Patel ◽  
...  

Abstract Background Drug checking is a harm reduction intervention aiming to reduce substance use-related risks by improving drug user knowledge of the composition of unregulated drugs. With increasing fears of fentanyl adulteration in unregulated drugs, this study sought to examine whether the expected type of drug checked (stimulant vs. opioid) was associated with timing of drug checking service utilization (pre-consumption vs. post-consumption). Methods Data were derived from drug checking sites in British Columbia between October 31, 2017 and December 31, 2019. Pearson’s Chi-square test was used to examine the relationship between expected sample type (stimulant vs. opioid) and timing of service utilization. Odds ratios (OR) were calculated to assess the strength of this relationship. The Mantel–Haenszel (MH) test was used to adjust for service location. Results A total of 3561 unique stimulant and opioid samples were eligible for inclusion, including 691 (19.40%) stimulant samples; and 2222 (62.40%) samples that were tested pre-consumption. Results indicated a positive association between testing stimulant samples and testing pre-consumption (OR = 1.45; 95% CI 1.21–1.73). Regions outside of the epicenter of the province’s drug scene showed a stronger association with testing pre-consumption (ORMH = 2.33; 95% CI 1.51–3.56) than inside the epicenter (ORMH = 1.33; 95% CI 1.09–1.63). Conclusion Stimulant samples were more likely to be checked pre-consumption as compared with opioid samples, and stimulant samples were more likely to be tested pre-consumption in regions outside the epicenter of the province’s drug scene. This pattern may reflect a concern for fentanyl-adulterated stimulant drugs.


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