"This research sought the perspectives of people involved in the unregulated drug market on how drug checking could be implemented as a market intervention within the current context of a highly unpredictable drug supply and unprecedented rates of overdose. Currently, drug checking is positioned as a public health intervention promoted to people who use drugs within supervised consumption sites while being averse to aiding people who sell or produce drugs. Drug checking does not need to be limited to an individual-level behavioral intervention targeted at the end user of a substance, but holds the potential to also function as a supply-side intervention within the drug market linked to overdose. However, careful consideration is needed to design and deliver appropriate drug checking services within the context of the criminalization of substances and the drug market. The demand for quality and product assurance within the illicit supply may operate as a potential driving force to facilitate drug checking and we identified several novel strategies to this end; however, there are also significant implementation challenges.
"We heard that criminalization was the most critical barrier to accessing drug checking services for those within the supply chain. While unsurprising, there are particular considerations and intervention design factors to be addressed to engage sellers and potentially function at a market level. Overall, the benefits of drug checking services need to ensure high-quality services that enable quality products, provided by knowledgeable peers and scientists, and establish trust and safety to outweigh the risks of arrest for accessing services. Promoting drug checking for marketing quality products may be more successful than relying on traditional health promotion messages. Safer settings within the context of criminalization are critical and yet not clearly defined and vary depending on the person and context. Trust was identified as central to successful implementation and may be enhanced through engaging peers and word of mouth."
Bruce Wallace, Thea van Roode, Piotr Burek, Bernadette Pauly & Dennis Hore (2022) Implementing drug checking as an illicit drug market intervention within the supply chain in a Canadian setting, Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy, DOI: 10.1080/09687637.2022.2087487