The police-backed pop-up lab tells users what's in their drug and provides 15-minute counselling sessions.
The pop-up lab was set up in the city centre last weekend, offering users two main services: substance testing and 15-minute counselling sessions with drug safety professionals, which have earned the scheme the support of the local council and authorities. Speaking to ITV News, Inspector Martin Rowland from Avon and Somerset Police said, "It's time to try new things." He continued: "Maybe they'll go away from that not just having had their drugs tested, but come away with a bit of advice and think, actually, I'm not going to do this kind of behaviour anymore."
The lab follows similar trials at a number of festivals and events, including The Warehouse Project, Secret Garden Party and Boomtown. At Boomtown last year, 20% of people who tested their drugs decided not to take them, while 50% said they'd alter their behaviour in light of the results. Overall, the festival recorded a 25% reduction in drug-related medical incidents.
The success of the pop-up lab means it'll return to Bristol across the next two weekends, with two more UK cities reportedly "on the verge" of introducing similar schemes.
Earlier this year, The Loop helped publish a report that called for urgent action to combat record numbers of cocaine- and ecstasy-related deaths.