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Thursday, July 25, 2024 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Canberra’s drug testing service extended

CANBERRA’s drug testing service has been extended to August 2023 following an evaluation.

The CanTEST Health and Drug Checking Service provides chemical analysis of drugs, as well as drop-in nurse consultations, and was opened in July 2022 as a six-month pilot.

Since opening its doors, a range of drugs have been tested including MDMA, heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, ketamine and psychedelics.

In its first four months of operation, the service has tested 371 samples, with around 15 per cent of samples being voluntarily discarded by clients following testing.

The service also delivered 436 health and alcohol drug interventions in its first four months, with some clients receiving multiple interventions in one visit.

The interim independent evaluation report found that 80 per cent of clients accepted an alcohol or other drug (AOD) or healthcare intervention and 62 per cent reported never previously accessing a healthcare worker for information or advice about drug use.

The report recommends the pilot be completed and service continue pending the full evaluation in the first half of 2023, detailing the impact the service has had over the first three months of operation, indicating strong user support and engagement with the AOD and health interventions.

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