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The UK's first regular Home Office licensed drug checking service to be set up in Bristol

Bristol City Council along with The Loop will be offering the service once a month

  • Aneesa Ahmed
  • 11 May 2022
The UK's first regular Home Office licensed drug checking service to be set up in Bristol

The UK's first regular Home Office licenced drug-checking service is opening in Bristol which will be bringing drug testing and health advice services to people in Bristol.

This service will be run by drug harm-reduction organisation The Loop, alongside Bristol City Council.

Illicit drugs can be taken to get tested by users for free. The service will be confidential and services will commence on May 28 2022 and will operate on-site at Bristol Drug Project once a month during payday weekend (the last weekend of the month).

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Additional hours and days will be added during times of local events and festivals where they may be an increase in drug use - including Bristol Pride and Love Saves The Day festival.

Drug-checking has been taking place at festivals and events for years, however, this service is the first to be licensed by the UK Home Office.

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The Loop, Peoples Republic of Stokes Croft (PRSC), and Bristol Drugs Project will collaborate on the running of this service, which will be financially supported by Bristol City Council.

Users bring substances of concern to Bristol Drug Project, deposit them in an amnesty box on the ground floor, and then proceed to PRSC approximately an hour later for individually customised, nonjudgmental healthcare consultations and test results from health specialists.

During that time, a pop-up lab in Bristol Drug Project will analyse the drug using a variety of chemical tests to determine the substance's composition and strength. The laboratory is licenced to handle restricted substances by the Home Office.

No drugs will be returned to service users, only information about the chemical composition and findings will be returned.

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Professor Fiona Measham, Director of The Loop, said: “As the first and only dedicated drug checking service provider in the UK, The Loop has been working for nearly a decade to establish regular drug checking services direct to the public and we are extremely grateful to the Home Office for issuing the licence to be able to offer this vital service.

"We would also like to thank our local partners for their support in introducing this groundbreaking multi-agency initiative.”

Adding to this, Bristol City Councillor Ellie King said: "As the first city in the UK to have a regular drug checking service in the heart of the city we will be able to provide communities with access to factual, scientific, evidence-based information about drugs they may consume and that are in circulation throughout the wider city.

"This, alongside the one-on-one trained healthcare consultation, will empower people to make safer, informed decisions and access drug treatment and further support."

Read this next: UK government urged to back drug safety testing at festivals this summer

For more information, check out The Loop's website here.

Aneesa Ahmed is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow her on Twitter

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