WHAT WE DO
The Loop Australia has been established to work towards the development, establishment and delivery of drug checking services in Australia. Drug checking can be performed in a variety of settings, including in drug health services, community-based settings or clinics, festivals, or emergency medical settings. Drug checking service delivery involves a health intervention, chemical analysis, and information dissemination.
All health interventions are delivered by health professionals who have training and experience working with people who use drugs.
Information is gathered about service users' physical and psychological health, as well as any medications they might be taking, allergies they might have, and their past and planned drug use. Finally, the results of the analysis are given.
Every service user is advised that the safest way to proceed is not to take drugs. However in the event that they were to decide to take something, information regarding the risks of drug use are discussed, as well as ways in which they could reduce their risk.
All chemical analysis is undertaken by professional analytic chemists.
A combination of up to five analytic processes may be used. These processes establish what the sample contains, and can accurately determine the quantity (or dose) of a number of constituents (including MDMA); this is vital to allow harm reduction advice to be provided around the risks of high-strength substances.
Testing also allows us to establish when a substance is unknown or undetectable, meaning that it should absolutely not be taken. Where possible, these substances are sent off-site for formal laboratory analysis. No sample is returned to service users after testing.
Information collected regarding circulating substances is shared with health services (including on-site medical, harm reduction services, ambulance and hospitals) and other bodies such as event organisers, local council, and police in order to ensure the optimal response to identified circulating substances of concern.
Information gathered may also assist in policy development; appropriate allocation of resources to drug health and harm reduction services; and early warning systems for new or highly dangerous substances.
The evidence base around drug checking is fledgling but 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.