T.E.D.I. network a step forward for European drug checking services

7 mai 2013

The term “Drug Checking” is referred to an integrated service that basically enables individual drug users to have their synthetic drugs (e.g., cocaine, ecstasy, amphetamine or LSD) chemically analysed as well as receiving personal advice, and, if necessary, personal support in consultation or counselling.

Drug Checking represents an essential aspect of public health policy as recommended by the World Health Organization and has been further developed by EU agencies and various European nations.

An integrated Drug Checking service creates awareness about a drug’s desired effects, side effects and long-time risk, educates users about harm reduction and the methods of risk reduction, and thereby reduces the risks for drug users. Moreover, substance alerts, based on analytical facts, can reveal the risks of drug use to a larger audience.

Research involving three nations shows that an integrated Drug Checking service does not stimulate drug use and may reduce risk drug-use levels among the reached target group.[1]

In addition, a Drug Checking service also includes: the monitoring of drug markets for new/dangerous drugs and drug consumption methods; the creation of an attractive service that appeals to the target group; the offering of a full range of educational information, the recognition of early risk consumption symptoms, and counselling and referral services that focus on effective forms of treatment within the existing drug care system. Warnings issued regarding a particular drug, after chemical analysis, can have far-reaching and positive effects on those most closely involved in drug use.

Evaluations of the Party Drug Prevention in the City of Zurich shows that since Drug Checking was implemented, the number of people who consume on a higher risk level, poly drug use or high prevalence’s of one substance is on the decline.[2]

Furthermore, an integrated Drug Checking service can offer an effective response to the emergence of lethal drugs because it provides services at various stages in the detection process.

In the first stage, it provides information about the potential danger of a particular drug to the users who have voluntarily provided samples of the potentially lethal drug. Research reveals[3] that users consider the information provided by the Drug Checking team as very trustworthy. This means that users will initiate their own personal
risk-reduction measures, but will also readily disseminate this information among friends and dealers, greatly increasing its reach well beyond the users themselves. Stage two involves the implementation of warning information due the internet or even when necessary a warning campaign, which may simply be regional or it can become more widespread.

As a step forward for European Drug Checking services, in 2011 was created The Trans European Drug Information project (TEDI). TEDI is a network of European fieldwork Drug Checking services that share their expertise and data within a European monitoring and information system. TEDI’s main goal is to improve public health and intervention programs with analytical facts. Towards this goal, TEDI has developed a database system that collects, monitors and analyses the evolution of various European drug trends in recreational settings. The TEDI project operates within the European NEWIP project.

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