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Challenges, policy and politics in drug checking: reflections of the TEDItorial team

Nicolas Van der Linden (Modus Vivendi asbl, Brussels, Belgium; Center for Social and Cultural Psychology, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium and Trans European Drug Information (TEDI), NEWNet, Paris, France)
Raoul Pieter Joost Koning (Jellinek, Amsterdam, The Netherlands and Trans European Drug Information (TEDI), NEWNet, Paris, France)
Daan van der Gouwe (Drugs Information and Monitoring System, Trimbos Institute, Utrecht, The Netherlands and Trans European Drug Information (TEDI), NEWNet, Paris, France)
Mireia Ventura (ABD-Energy Control, Barcelona, Spain and Trans European Drug Information (TEDI), NEWNet, Paris, France)
Fiona Measham (Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology, School of Law and Social Justice, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK and Trans European Drug Information (TEDI), NEWNet, Paris, France)

Drugs, Habits and Social Policy

ISSN: 2752-6739

Article publication date: 29 November 2022

Issue publication date: 7 December 2022

119

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present some of the continued resistance and challenges faced by drug checking services (DCS) and review how the existing literature and the contributions to the special issue address them, with a view to making recommendations.

Design/methodology/approach

The existing literature and the contributions to the special issue are reviewed.

Findings

Drug checking cannot be equated with quality control. With the appropriate equipment and chemistry staff, DCS can provide quantitative analysis and reliable results. When the product does not match expectations, service users discard the tested substance of concern. To more easily compare the results of different studies and better evaluate drug checking, standardisation of measures is desirable. Uptake of drug checking, notably in festivals, is low and depends in part on the capacity of DCS. Drug checking has added value in monitoring drug markets and is complementary with chemical (forensic) analysis.

Originality/value

This paper interrogates in a relatively comprehensive way the continued resistance to drug checking in light of theoretical and empirical research to derive recommendations that are specific to drug checking and that are addressed to health professionals, researchers and also to policymakers.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors thank the two reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions.

Declaration of conflicting interests: All editors are members of the TEDI network. Nicolas Van der Linden is employed part-time by Modus Vivendi asbl which operates a DCS. Raoul Pieter Joost Koning is employed by the Dutch DCS, Jellinek. Daan van der Gouwe is employed by the Trimbos Institute, where the coordinating office of the Dutch DCS, DIMS is located. Mireia Ventura is employed by ABD-Energy Control. Fiona Measham is founder and (unpaid) Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Loop, UK.

Citation

Van der Linden, N., Koning, R.P.J., van der Gouwe, D., Ventura, M. and Measham, F. (2022), "Challenges, policy and politics in drug checking: reflections of the TEDItorial team", Drugs, Habits and Social Policy, Vol. 23 No. 3, pp. 289-302. https://doi.org/10.1108/DHS-10-2022-0037

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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