Drug-test ser­vice high­lights dan­gers

Sunday Sun - - News -

A Drug-test­ing ser­vice has high­lighted the dan­gers of the il­le­gal trade, a Durham po­lice chief has said.

Ron Hogg, the Durham Po­lice, Crime and Vic­tims’ Com­mis­sioner (PCVC), was speak­ing fol­low­ing the trial of a new ser­vice in Durham City to as­sess the pu­rity of drugs.

And ac­cord­ing to Mr Hogg, the labs turned up some eye-open­ing re­sults over the fes­tive pe­riod.

“Not one per­son who brought drugs in had bought what they thought they had bought,” he told yes­ter­day’s meet­ing of Durham’s Po­lice and Crime Panel.

“Some of the things the chemists found, they had never come across be­fore.

“It is some­thing we would in­tend to do again, this is about re­duc­ing harm – we know they’re go­ing to buy the drugs re­gard­less of what hap­pens.”

Mr Hogg, who has been Durham’s PCVC since 2012, has been an ad­vo­cate of an over­haul of UK drugs pol­icy, with more fo­cus on safety and treat­ment for ad­dicts.

In De­cem­ber the Loop project held two pop-up labs in Durham where drugs could be tested for pu­rity with­out fear of reper­cus­sions and get med­i­cal and other safety ad­vice.

The scheme is the brain­child of Fiona Measham, Pro­fes­sor of Crim­i­nol­ogy at Durham Uni­ver­sity.

Late last year (2018), the uni­ver­sity re­leased the find­ings of a study car­ried out by the Loop and led by Prof Measham at a four-day mu­sic fes­ti­val in 2016.

Out of al­most 250 sam­ple sub­stances tested, this found a fifth were dif­fer­ent to what they had been sold as.

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