Home > A distributed model to expand the reach of drug checking.

Wallace, Bruce and Gozdzialski, Lea and Qbaich, Abdelhakim and Shafiul, Azam and Burek, Piotr and Hutchinson, Abby and Teal, Taylor and Louw, Rebecca and Kielty, Collin and Robinson, Derek and Moa, Belaid and Storey, Margaret-Anne and Gill, Chris and Hore, Dennis (2022) A distributed model to expand the reach of drug checking. Drugs, Habits and Social Policy, 23, (3), pp. 220-231. https://doi.org/10.1108/DHS-01-2022-0005.

External website: https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.110...

While there is increasing interest in implementing drug checking within overdose prevention, we must also consider how to scale-up these responses so that they have significant reach and impact for people navigating the unpredictable and increasingly complex drug supplies linked to overdose. The purpose of this paper is to present a distributed model of community drug checking that addresses multiple barriers to increasing the reach of drug checking as a response to the illicit drug overdose crisis.

A detailed description of the key components of a distributed model of community drug checking is provided. This includes an integrated software platform that links a multi-instrument, multi-site service design with online service options, a foundational database that provides storage and reporting functions and a community of practice to facilitate engagement and capacity building.

The distributed model diminishes the need for technicians at multiple sites while still providing point-of-care results with local harm reduction engagement and access to confirmatory testing online and in localized reporting. It also reduces the need for training in the technical components of drug checking (e.g. interpreting spectra) for harm reduction workers. Moreover, its real-time reporting capability keeps communities informed about the crisis. Sites are additionally supported by a community of practice.

This paper presents innovations in drug checking technologies and service design that attempt to overcome current financial and technical barriers towards scaling-up services to a more equitable and impactful level and effectively linking multiple urban and rural communities to report concentration levels for substances most linked to overdose.

Item Type
Publication Type
International, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
Substances (not alcohol/tobacco)
Intervention Type
Prevention, Harm reduction, Screening / Assessment
Identification #
Page Range
pp. 220-231

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