Insights from Drug Checking Programs: Practicing Bootstrap Public Health Whilst Tailoring to Local Drug User Needs

Drug checking allows individuals to learn the composition of their drugs prior to use, and is being offered as a way to avert overdose while also providing low-barrier opportunities to connect people to harm reduction and other social and health services. We interviewed 11 providers in the US and Canada working in drug checking service programs about their experience operating these programs, and the challenges and promise of integrating drug checking into existing harm reduction organizations and the healthcare system. Programs were tailored to local needs and responsive to community stakeholders and successfully provided vital information on the drug supply. Still, without a stable legal and political landscape and the necessary financial and technical investment in drug checking services, this lifesaving intervention faces challenges in scaling up to meaningful levels.


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