top of page
Light background.png

Our approach

Our work covers four key areas:​ health intervention, chemical testing, information sharing, and research. ​ Together, these interrelated focuses help us reduce drug-related harms, enhance engagement with people who may use drugs, and collect information about substances circulating in local drug markets.​​



All health interventions are delivered by health professionals who have training and experience working with people who use drugs. During a consultation, we gather information from service users about their physical and psychological health, any medications they may be taking and their past and planned drug use. Every service user is advised that the safest option is to not take drugs. However, in the event that they decide to take something, we provide reliable information about the drug(s) and discuss a range of options to reduce their risk.



All chemical analysis is undertaken by professional chemists using a combination of up to five analytic processes. This allows us to establish what the sample is and determine its quality and potency. Testing can indicate new, unknown or undetectable substances. In this case, the substance should never be taken. Where possible, these substances are sent off-site for formal laboratory analysis. No samples are returned to service users after testing.



The information we collect from drug checking is shared with a range of health services. This includes on-site medical teams, harm reduction services, ambulance and hospitals. To ensure the optimal response to identified circulating substances of concern, information is shared with the broader community via social media alerts and other channels. Finally, information about new or highly dangerous substances can inform policy development and help authorities to allocate appropriate resources to drug health and harm reduction services.



The evidence base around drug checking is growing quickly. Our research team consists of volunteer researchers from various disciplines. We aim to undertake efficient, person-centred, cost-effective and ethical research in order to expand the evidence around drug checking, drug use and drug markets. Research helps us to ensure that our efforts are having a positive impact on people’s lives, public health and the community.


Who does this benefit?


The provision of drug checking services and harm reduction messaging has been found to influence service users' behaviour, making them more likely to dispose of drugs and to decrease the amount taken. Drug checking services improve engagement with people who may use drugs who may be unwilling to discuss their drug use with other services. This improves drug education and health advice delivery to this population and allows safer decision making around drug use. 


Health workers in hospital and community settings (e.g. Emergency and Intensive Care clinicians and drug health specialists) benefit from having as much information as possible about circulating substances, allowing preparation for drug-related presentations and toxicity; introduction and delivery of treatment services for substance use problems and addiction; and enabling optimal delivery of drug use prevention and harm reduction messaging to people who may use drugs.



Knowing as much as possible about circulating substances allows emergency services to prepare for responses to drug-related problems, including toxicity and health problems as well as behavioural disturbances. Overseas, the implementation of drug checking services at festivals have been associated with reduced ambulance transfers for drug-related problems.

bottom of page