Club Drug Deaths Are At A Record High, It’s Time We Start Testing Drugs

Outdated legislation is not helping the club drug crisis...

Club Drug Deaths Are At A Record High, It’s Time We Start Testing Drugs

by Georgia Aspinall |
Published on

Last Summer, drug testing charity The Loop began setting up tents at festivals across the UK and analysing peoples drugs to establish what exactly was in the drugs they’re taking. It was the first sign of innovation in tackling the club drug crises that has been slowly creeping in on the UK over the past decade. Now, that crisis has reached an all-time high, with deaths linked to ecstasy and cocaine being at their highest level since records began.

Recreational drugs are getting stronger and stronger, even cannabis was reported to be ‘super-strength’ in 94% of police seizures across the UK last month, with users unaware just how dangerous their party drugs are. With more people dying from ecstasy and cocaine than ever before, researchers are warning that radical measures need to be taken, with drug testing available in cities across the UK being one of their major suggestions.

A report by Durham University, The Loop, drug policy think-tank Volteface and The All Parliamentary Group for Drug Policy Reform has advised a series of initiatives to be taken by councils, clubs and the police to tackle this issue. Asking for an independent information service to be commissioned to reduce drug-related harm, they also advise ‘night-time staff’ should receive drug awareness training and that all licensed venues undertake the UK festival drug policy of ‘Prevent, Pursue, Protect’.

Promoting drug safety testing services in ‘night time districts’, The Loop, which is a non-profit organisation, is asking for donations to be made to fund this new scheme. The campaign, It’s #TimeToTest aims to offer their ‘Multi-Agency Safety Testing service across various city centres and is therefore hoping to raise £50,000 in order to do so.

The report hopes to provide practical, effective methods to reduce drug-related harm, as opposed to ‘outdated licensing laws’ that fail to protect young people from this growing problem. Dr. Henry Fisher, the report co-author, said:

‘While the UK’s drug market has rapidly evolved in recent years, measures taken to address harms have failed to keep pace and, as a result, our young people, public services, and much-loved venues are bearing the brunt of this failure. ‘

According to Karen Tyrell, executive director of external affairs at Addaction, ‘drug related deaths are twice as high as deaths from road traffic accidents’, which is why drug testing services are vital. She said:

‘At Addaction, we are seeing a wider variety of substances being used, with people often taking a combination of drugs at the same time. It’s hugely important that people have as much information as possible about what they are taking, so that they can make more informed decisions about their own health and wellbeing. That’s why this kind of service should be made widely available across our towns and cities.’

The Loop is currently in talks with authorities across the UK to implement the initiatives, however it is vital they receive enough donations to do so. If you want to donate to the It’s #TimeToTest campaign, click here.

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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