Berlin is set to gain an official drug-checking centre. Civil society groups have been calling for such an institution for a long time.
There’s no denying it: drugs are part of the party scene here in Berlin. But when you have no idea what’s actually in the powders and pills, a trip can end pretty badly. And in the worst cases, it can be deadly. The sensible solution? Drug checking. For years, countries like Switzerland have set up information centres which test drug samples for their ingredients, while in the UK, a trial run at a festival led to a 95% decrease in drug-related hospital admissions. An expert’s report cleared the way for the Senate, currently a coalition consisting of the Social Democrats, the Left, and the Green party, to establish an official drug-checking centre in Berlin.
The organisations actually running the centre will be Eclipse, Fixpunkt, and Vista. Together, they’ve developed a simple concept: people will be able to send in drugs anonymously to be tested at a laboratory. With a code or an alias they can access the results online, by phone, or in person.
You don’t have to be a connoisseur of chemically-induced highs, you don’t even have to like drugs at all, to support this approach. Because it can save lives. And because you can’t prevent people from seeking the high — especially not in Berlin.
Translated by Aida Baghernejad