A coalition of drug safety organizations is hosting the first-ever international drug checking day on March 31 to raise awareness of safer drug use. The initiative is aimed at recreational users, with a particular emphasis on the nightlife community, and aims to promote harm reduction—accepting that people will choose to take drugs, and providing them with tools to minimize the risks.
"By raising awareness and sharing knowledge we hope to improve the accessibility of numerous substance oriented harm reduction methods," the initiative's mission statement reads. "Not only for users, but also for the governmental organizations worldwide who have been searching for a solution to the substance use issues that their citizens face on a daily basis."
The program of events, which will be taking place across social media platforms, includes a drug-checking Reddit AMA hosted by substance testing organization The Bunk Police, Drogart, DanceSafe, and Energy Control, as well as video contributions from YouTubers such as PychedSubstances and AVI LSD, as well as giveaways.
Drug checking—also known as pill testing—involves using a chemical reaction to test what substances are in users' street drugs in order for them to avoid taking something unknown and potentially dangerous. While harm reduction organization advocate drug checking, there is controversy around it both legally and scientifically.
DanceSafe, a nightlife health and safety nonprofit, is one of the organizations participating in the initiative. "The goal is to reduce drug-related harms or death by providing accurate drug information and useful health and safety services to people who choose to use drugs recreationally," a spokesperson for the company said in a press release.
Other groups from around the world taking part in the drug checking day include Romania's Colour Mind addiction clinic, UK drug charity The Loop, and online psychedelic database Erowid.
DanceSafe added: "Many organizations and agencies currently exist that provide services for physically dependent users, but few address the needs of recreational users, which constitute the majority of drug users."