By David Hillier / Vice

New research published today indicates that significant numbers of people who use drug checking services at UK festivals have reported ongoing behavioural change when using illegal substances.

At three UK festivals in 2017, 1,482 people checked their drugs for strength and purity using the free service delivered by a UK-based NGO called The Loop. As well as having your drugs tested, the service includes a 15-minute harm reduction-focused consultation. Of 130 users who answered a follow-up questionnaire three months later, nearly two-thirds reported that this brief intervention has made a positive impact on the way they use drugs.

“This study sheds light on the decision-making process for drug users,” says Fiona Measham, co-author of the research and co-founder of The Loop. “We can see that, by and large, people are considered and careful. It really challenges some of the biggest stereotypes about drug users and young adults.”

Other standout findings were that 32.3 percent of respondents said they were more careful with poly-drug use, 26.8 percent were now less likely to buy drugs from strangers and 19.7 percent continued to use smaller doses. While these numbers represent a minority – albeit a significant one – overall, just 7.9 percent said their experience had no impact whatsoever on their drug-taking choices since.