Drugs. They are a major threat to the west. The west has been fighting an ongoing war against them for decades without much success. The UK provided another sign this week that a new approach is being developed, one that emphasizes harm reduction over criminality.
In a move unthinkable a decade ago, the government granted a licence for a service that will anonymously test people’s illegal substances for strength and purity – information that could save lives. It comes amid a record rise in drug-related deaths in the UK.
After a successful trail in the city centre and at festivals, the facility will be opened in Bristol this month. The service allows people to drop a small amount of their drugs in an amnesty bag. After an hour, the results will be reviewed and presented to them by a medical professional.
The Loop, a non-profit harm reduction organisation, runs the service. Its work has been linked to a drop in drug-related problems at festivals.Similar projects are already being implemented in several European countries.
Bristol city councillor Ellie King said the service “will empower people to make safer, informed decisions and access drug treatment and further support”.
Image: Aranxa Esteve