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First drug-testing clinic licensed by Home Office opens

The first drug-testing clinic licensed by the Home Office for users to check their drugs is now open. The clinic, in Weston-super-Mare, will operate as a one-month pilot project. Run by the charity, Addaction, the clinic will offer anonymous drug analysis services to anyone aged 18 or older.

Roz Gittins, the Director of Pharmacy at Addaction, said that people can make more informed decisions about using drugs if they know the potential harm that taking them could cause.

It will take about 10 minutes to test a drug sample, and users will complete an informed-consent questionnaire giving the clinic permission to provide them with ‘harm reduction advice to be tailored to their needs’. Ms Gittins added: “This is about saving lives. We know people take drugs. We don’t have to condone it but nor should we judge people or bury our heads in the sand.” The Home Office issued a statement supporting the research conducted during the pilot project, and the results of the pilot will be evaluated after one month.

The pilot clinic is being operated in partnership with Hertfordshire University and The Loop, which is a non-profit organisation currently offering drug-testing services at music festivals. It is also making the drug-testing equipment available to the clinic. Addaction noted that all organisations involved in the pilot clinic agree that their participation does not mean they condone the use of illegal drugs and that samples submitted for testing will not be returned to the individuals providing them

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