New drug-checking techniques for Australia; learning from Europe

20 Jul 2022

New drug-checking techniques for Australia; learning from Europe featured image

New drug-checking techniques for Australia; learning from Europe

Associate Professor Malcolm McLeod from Canberra, is currently visiting leading drug checking services in the Netherlands, Portugal and Austria as part of his Winston Churchill Fellowship.

Mr Adam Davey, CEO of the Winston Churchill Trust said “Malcolm’s Fellowship is timely especially in light of the nation’s first fixed-site pill and drug testing clinic opening in the ACT tomorrow.[1]

Professor McLeod has just visited Amsterdam and the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. Next stop is the ‘Boom Festival’, a large Portuguese music and dance “trance” event, followed by ‘CheckIt!’ in Vienna, Austria.

Professor McLeod’s Fellowship aims to improve the analytical chemistry capabilities in Australia for drug checking, or pill testing, which is a medically supervised health intervention.

Professor McLeod said “Analytical chemistry testing methods are the foundation of drug checking, providing information on drug contents that inform later conversations between service clients, doctors and harm reduction workers.

“We know that drug checking operates under challenging environmental conditions to deliver accurate and reliable information in short time-frames.

“I am learning from the leading European drug checking services. I am visiting these services who are sharing new knowledge, including improved methods of field-deployable infra-red analysis, and quantifying drugs.” Professor McLeod said.

Mr Davey said “Over the years, many Canberrans have been sent overseas through Churchill Fellowships to learn about a topic they’re passionate about, and bring these learnings back to Australia.

“We want to see more passionate ACT residents think about applying for a Churchill Fellowship. There are no limits to what your topic could be. There are no educational requirements.

“Start thinking now about the topic, where you’d like to go and what you would study or explore to build knowledge.” said Mr Davey

[1] Source: Australia’s first fixed-site pill testing to open in Canberra in bid for harm reduction

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