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Bid for first drug checking service in Dundee

Posted: April 8, 2024

Scottish charity Hillcrest Futures has submitted a bid to establish a drug checking service in Dundee, aimed at addressing potential contamination of illegal drugs and reducing associated harms.

The proposal to establish a drug checking facility is being worked on in partnership with Dundee Alcohol and Drug Partnership (ADP), NHS Tayside, Dundee Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) and the Scottish Government.

The proposed drug checking service targets people aged 18 and over who are dependent on one or more illicit drugs and are at risk of harm, including near-fatal overdose and drug-related deaths.

Ingrid Hainey, Hillcrest Futures Business Manager said: “This initiative represents a crucial step in our efforts to support people in reducing the risks associated with their substance use. By providing information about drug content and potency, we can empower people to make informed decisions about their health and wellbeing and help to save lives.”

The service, integrated within Hillcrest Futures’ current Harm Reduction facility, would offer a range of support including peer support, welfare advice, foodbank referrals, Blood Borne Virus testing, and referral for drug treatment and mental health support.

Drugs and Alcohol Policy Minister, Christina McKelvie commented: “I welcome the announcement that Dundee has also now submitted its licence application for a drug checking facility to the Home Office. This follows Aberdeen’s recent application and if these get the go-ahead, these centres will mean people can get substances tested while receiving tailored harm-reduction advice alongside the results.

“We are committed to delivering drug checking facilities which will enable services to respond faster to emerging trends. We continue to work with partners to implement these facilities across all our pilot cities.”

Vice Chair of the Dundee Health and Social Care Partnership Councillor Ken Lynn added: “This is an important step in our ongoing work in Dundee to reduce risk and harm caused by substance use in the city.

“By creating opportunities for individuals to check the substances they have obtained, we are taking a forward approach which begins to raise awareness of the substances in our city and provides individuals with a level of knowledge not previously available to them. This is therefore an opportunity to also provide advice and information on ways to reduce harms related to use of drugs and signpost people to additional sources of support.

“I look forward to working with communities, partners, the Scottish Government and Home Office as we take this proposal forward.”

The proposed service aligns with the Scottish Government’s commitment to implementing drug checking facilities across pilot cities Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee, with the aim of reducing harm to individuals, families and communities.

Pictured: Eddie Wight, peer support worker and Fiona Holt, service manager at Hillcrest Futures’ Harm Reduction service