UK’s first city centre recreational drug safety testing facility opens in Bristol

Following a series of pilots across music festivals, the UK’s first ever recreational drug safety testing facility has opened in Bristol.

The pop-up lab, run by charity The Loop, is able to test the quality and strength of drugs provided to it by people who use drugs.

The Multi-Agency Safety Testing (MAST) initiative is supported by police and follows other European countries that have implemented similar schemes.

Fiona Measham, Professor of Criminology at Durham University and Director of the Loop said: “We were excited that such a vibrant city as Bristol was first to embrace drug safety testing, in a partnership with the police, council, public health and the local drugs service that hosted us.

“It also provides an opportunity to proactively test ahead of festivals, to anticipate and avoid public health scares onsite. With the contamination of markets with fentanyl analogues, cathinones and cannabinoids, testing informs not only the individuals who come to use our service, but also local emergency services.

Scottish Drugs Forum’s Katy MacLeod was invited to discuss the initiative on STV’s News Tonight programme, which can be viewed here.