Magnolini et al. montrent que le drug checking offre des informations précieuses et une responsabilisation dans le contexte d'une offre dynamique et incertaine de substances non réglementées, tout en mettant en évidence les obstacles politiques qui entravent l'accessibilité. Pour en savoir plus, en anglais, veuillez lire les informations ci-dessous.
Drug checking services (DCS) are harm reduction interventions for people who consume illicit substances. Unregulated drug markets lead to samples with unexpected and variable contents. A retrospective data analysis of Zurich's DCS was performed to determine the nature of these samples.
This study aims to investigate the qualitative and quantitative properties of 16,815 customer-provided psychoactive drug samples analyzed chemically through the DCS in Zurich from 1st January 2011 to 31st December 2021. The main analytical method utilized for characterizing these substances was high-performance liquid chromatography and gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. Data sets are summarized using descriptive statistics.
There was a 2.5-fold increase in the number of tested samples over the past decade. An overall proportion of 57.9% (weighted mean) of samples within our database demonstrates unexpected analytical findings and additional low sample contents during the observation period. Substantial differences in quality and quantity between substance groups were detected and an increase of sample quality and content over time was demonstrated.
Chemical analysis reveals that over half of substances acquired from unregulated drug markets analyzed through DCS in Zurich are with low qualitative and quantitative properties, which may expose users to risks. Based on longitudinal analyses over a decade, this study contributes to the body of evidence that DCS may potentially manipulate unregulated drug markets towards providing better quality substances, as well as may stabilize these markets over time. The necessity for drug policy changes to make this service accessible in further settings was highlighted, as DCS still often take place in legal grey zones.