Drug policy: Politicians want harm reduction not prohibition
:bsz International: Party hard but safely

Last week, a 27-year old man died after partying, probably due to toxic drugs. Two friends of him were also intoxicated, and hence hospitalised. In the meantime, police have interrogated a suspect from Bochum, who is said to have allegedly sold the toxic pills. North­rhine-Westphalia’s (NRW) left-wing party Die Linke now demands drug checks to avoid more drug-related deaths.

„This death concerns us and shows the danger of an illegal drug market“, says Jasper Prigge, spokesman for the domestic policy of Die Linke NRW. He claims that people who want to consume drugs will do so, despite any bans. Thus, harm reduction must play a bigger role in NRW’s drug policy. „Criminalising and moralising drug use does not solve any problems“, Prigge continues. „Apart from clarfiying the active agents and the effects of drugs, we need more tangible help for those who are consuming drugs.“

That is why his party now demands a drug check service. Drug consumers should know what the pills they buy contain.

Tests for safer consumption

Drug check services are available in Switzerland, Austria and the Netherlands. Consumers can get their substances analysed in order to find out how pure they are. Thus, the risks of casualties should be minimised.

In Germany, drug checks are possible but not encouraged by the current governments in the federate states and the republic. A project called Drug Scouts was founded in 1996 by activists from the electronic music and party scene. They inform about safer drug use, for instance by publishing recent drug warnings from Austria and Switzerland. Recently, a pink superman pill appeared on the market, which not only contained MDMA (the agent of ecstasy), but also PMMA, which can lead to unconsciousness, coma or death when combined with MDMA.

According to Drug Scouts, in Germany you can commission a drug check at every pharmacy. Such a check can take up to several days, costs between 20 and 100 euros and the results usually fail to inform about the concentration of the individual components.

:Marek Firlej

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