„PARTY DRUGS“ TESTING ON THE DANCE FLOOR WITH A HIGH TECH MOBILE LAB
Daniel Allemann, Hans Pauli, André Mürner, Lukas Mürner, Fabienne Holzer, Hans-Jörg Helmlin
Since 1998 the mobile lab unit of the Office of the Cantonal Pharmacist (Health & Social Welfare Department, State of Berne, Switzerland) is testing so called „Party Drugs“ on the dance floor. At more than 180 events the team has tested over 3900 samples in cooperation with social workers from our partner organizations „Streetwork Zurich“, „Contact Bern“, „Suchthilfe Region Basel“ and „Première ligne“ Geneva.
The mobile lab consists of four custom made subunits mounted in steel framed racks on wheels, one for weighing and documentation, one for sample preparation and two with the equipment for chemical analysis (HPLC-DAD). The lab is operated by two experienced technicians and has a capacity of up to 6 samples per hour.
The lab is the focal point for counselling activities and also eases the contact with festive people. During the analysis of the sample, which is free of cost and anonymous for the interested clients, they attend a structured counselling session with social workers. The inherent scientific background of the lab reinforces the credibility of the information provided concerning potentially risky substances and/or behaviour. In cases of unknown or dangerous compounds, hazardous combinations or high doses, the potential consumers and - if necessary - a greater public is warned with appropriate means (cf. www.saferparty.ch; www.raveitsafe.ch; www.nuit-blanche.ch).
On a long-term view attending about 12 parties per year gives an insight into the situation on the illegal market regarding new drugs, changes in consumption trends and associated health risks.
Each participant will have the opportunity to see the lab only on Wednesday, September 13th (including Drinks Reception).
Dr. H.-J. Helmlin, MBA, PhD
Head Laboratory KAPA
State of Berne
CH-3012 Berne Switzerland