|Author (Person)||Shelley, John|
|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol.7, No.37, 11.10.01, p4|
THE EU's anti-drugs agency has controversially praised schemes which allow 'clubbers' to test the quality of ecstasy tablets.
The Lisbon-based European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction says such on-the-spot projects are "vital" for reaching users who ignore traditional anti-drug advice.
And it calls for more research and evaluation of the schemes, both at the national and the EU level, claiming they provide important data which will help Union policy-makers to devise their future strategy. "Pill-testing projects can be an important source of information on new substances and consumption trends as they are in closest possible contact with the relevant scenes, more so than other organisations within the prevention system," says the agency.
The findings are in a report by the agency following a study of drug testing in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain. The groups which run these schemes argue they prevent drug takers from poisoning themselves with 'adulterated' pills. Testing of ecstasy at discos, concerts and other events is becoming more frequent in some regions as a means of reaching recreational users in a non-threatening environment. "Although there is no strict scientific proof that on-the-spot pill testing cuts drug use, equally there is no evidence to show it promotes it, or that it is exploited by drug dealers," states the report.
But the drug agency's findings contrast sharply with the approach of police forces in some member states, many of which believe the testing schemes are illegal. One Spanish group reported as many as 75 pills being tested at a 'rave' event. The average age of those who ask for a pill test is 22, three-quarters of them men.
The EU's anti-drugs agency has controversially praised schemes which allow 'clubbers' to test the quality of ecstasy tablets.