By Sam Shirley-Beavan & Katie Stone
Drug checking at UK festivals has made unprecedented headway over the past year and garnered significant media attention along the way. While relatively new domestically, these initiatives have a longer history in other countries, as the experience in Latin America highlights.
Across at least five countries in Latin America, civil society groups are providing harm reduction services in nightclubs and festivals. Several of these include drug checking services like those offered by The Loop in the UK, which allow people to better understand what is in their drug and what the risks are. As it stands, drug checking services are available in parts of Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay and Mexico, all countries in which the use of amphetamine-type substances has increased over the last decade.
We’ve been following some of these trends for Harm Reduction International’s upcoming Global State of Harm Reduction report, which is due out late 2018. With concerns about the purity and adulteration of pills ever present, one standout from our research has been how communities are responding.