This is indeed an advance and it’ll cut overdose deaths:
Addicts will be able to get their illegal class A drugs tested for purity and quality without fear of prosecution under plans for city centre labs licensed by the Home Office.
The Loop, a non-profit group that already tests drugs at festivals, plans a network of up to five centres in cities from Bristol to Manchester where users hand in a dose-size samples of drugs like heroin and cocaine.
The test results are given back after they undergo a 20-minute consultation by The Loop’s volunteer health care professionals who assess their drug and medical histories and current use and provide health or medical advice.
The major cause of overdoses being that uncertainty of what the dose is. So, yes, an advance, this will cut the number of deaths. And with the possibility of fentanyl entering the supply, as it has done in the US - the reason for it not having done so as yet being ascribed to the generally higher purity of heroin in the UK supply chain - this could become more important.
But if we’re going to do this why not just go the whole hog? Make drugs legal. Properly legal, with known producers each responsible for their own brand. And thus desirous of making sure that dosages are clean, known and what they say upon the tin. For it is true that known dosages of clean heroin cause few deaths. Someone on regular doses of pharmaceutically pure heroin functions pretty normally for decades. It’s the uncertainty of dosage as a result of the illegality that leads to the deaths.
That is, if we’ve already accepted the argument that wraps should be checked for dose and safety why not move to the system we know does this best? Manufacturers taking legal responsibility for their own products?