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.
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 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.