Amnesty bins at dance venues may help tackle drug use

September 13, 2001

A new method to monitor drugs at dance venues BMJ Volume 323, p 603

A new method designed to monitor drug consumption at dance venues may lead to more effective campaigns against drug use, finds a study in this week's BMJ.

Researchers analysed the contents of an amnesty bin at a London dance venue, into which visitors were required to discard illicit drugs and into which security staff placed substances found during searches.

A total of 105 tablets and 79 powders in the bin were identified using a simple chemical test., later confirmed by more sophisticated analyses. A high proportion of the tablets contained MDMA (known as ecstasy), whereas the powders were predominantly amphetamine. Worryingly, nine tablets contained 4-MTA (known as flatliners). This drug is known to be highly toxic, having been implicated in four deaths in Britain and one in the Netherlands, say the authors.

Unlike current methods of monitoring drugs in dance venues, this process does not rely on what users think they have bought, so regular analysis of the contents of the bins would reflect what is currently available on the streets, explain the authors.

Accurate information on drug use would allow healthcare professionals to formulate better advice on avoiding injury through drug use and to design the most appropriate campaigns against drug use, they conclude.
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BMJ

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