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You’ll soon be able to test the purity of your cocaine and MDMA

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Alex Christian
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So what is it that you're shoving up your nose on weekends? Heaps of pure baking soda, cut with crushed Pro Plus, tossed with just a dash of cocaine?

If your nights out happen to be in sunny Lancashire, you’ll soon be able to find out.

Planned for the new year, drug booths in Preston will mean you’ll be able to test the quality of your illicit class A substances on weekends.

Expected to be the first place in the UK to offer the scheme, it’s free, legal, and anonymous – those carrying out the service won’t be handling the drugs and tested substances will be destroyed.

Fiona Measham, professor of criminology at Durham University and co-director of The Loop, the non-profit company that’ll run the initiative, stressed that the aim was to cut deaths among users.

“It’s a very new service and some people might see it as quite radical, but it’s focusing on harm reduction,” she told The Sunday Times.

Operating from a converted caravan on Friday and Saturday evenings, laser equipment will be able to diagnose the content of any substances within minutes. No date has been set for the trial, but it follows two small-scale schemes run by The Loop at music festivals last summer. Alongside planning to offer further drug testing in Manchester in 2017, The Loop are also working with Fabric ahead of its reopening in January.

The Preston trial scheme has even been met with some support from the National Police Chiefs’ Council, with a spokesman stating: “Some form of testing may be a really useful and practical way forward.”

It wasn’t long ago that the death knell was being rung for UK clubbing. But police-backed drug testing? The reopening of iconic venues? It looks like 2017 might be the year serotonin pumps through the body of the UK club scene once again.

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Alex Christian

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