Professor Fiona Measham

Professor Fiona Measham

Professor Fiona Measham

Introducing Drug ‘Checking’ to the UK – successes, struggles and lessons learnt

Drug safety testing or drug ‘checking’ – whereby the general public can get illegal drugs forensically tested for harm reduction purposes – has been well established in several European countries from 1992 onwards. More recently there has been a renewed effort to introduce drug safety testing in other countries including the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand. After several years of working behind the scenes, Fiona Measham’s non profit NGO, The Loop, successfully introduced drug safety testing to the UK in 2016. Fiona will discuss the challenges both to its introduction and its expansion, early successes and lessons learnt. She will conclude by arguing that spiralling drug related deaths, the opioid overdose crisis, the emergence of new psychoactive drugs and cryptomarkets all mean that drug safety testing is the most important harm reduction measure of contemporary times.

Fiona Measham is co-founder & co-Director of ‘The Loop’. The Loop conducts forensic testing of drugs at UK festivals and nightclubs and provides associated welfare support. Fiona Measham was appointed Professor of Criminology in the School of Applied Social Sciences at Durham University in 2012. Fiona has conducted research for over two decades across a broad area of criminology and social policy, exploring changing trends in legal and illegal drugs; the night time economy and the socio-cultural context to consumption; gender; the regulation and policing of intoxication; electronic music scenes and club cultures; issues of deterrence, displacement and desistance; and broader policy implications. A key feature of her research has been the development of in-situmethods of data collection in pubs, clubs and festivals, a working environment with which she is familiar, having spent her early adulthood working in bars and clubs across several continents in various guises.