The Loop drug testing

Home Office approves “life saving” licensed drug testing at festivals

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Confiscated and surrendered drugs will be tested at music festivals this summer to identify toxic substances in circulation and help prevent drug-related overdoses.

A continuation of long-standing government policy, licences have been issued under strict conditions to drug testing organisations to operate at some festivals in the UK.

Confiscated or surrendered drugs will be tested on-site and public alerts will be cascaded to festivalgoers if extremely potent drugs are detected to protect the public as much as possible and help prevent drug-related harm.

Supporters say these warnings save lives and give medical teams a better idea of how to treat anyone who becomes seriously ill after taking drugs, as well as tracking the prevalence of emerging threats, such as synthetic opioids, so that police and health support services can take swift action to contain the problem should any be identified.

Licences are expected to be issued in the coming weeks and as in previous years, organisations wishing to deliver back-of-house drug testing must apply for a Home Office licence to operate.

The decision to continue providing licenses to allow festivals to undertake back-of-house drug testing has been described as “life-saving” by Sacha Lord (pictured), Manchester’s night time economy advisor.

The decision means major drug testing providers such as The Loop can now test drugs on-site at festivals.

Lord said: “Drug testing at festivals is undeniably critical, and I am extremely pleased that the Home Office has approved their ongoing use. There is no safe way to take drugs, and so testing quite literally saves lives, and can help uncover new and potentially lethal drugs which may be new to the market.

“I would like to thank the cross-party MPs who have supported this move, and those behind the scenes at the Home Office who have worked so hard to ensure we have these licenses in place ahead of this year’s festival season.”