Addictions, Drug & Alcohol Institute

NEW ADAI Brief: The Use and Impact of Community Drug Checking Services


How to cite the new ADAI Brief: Kingston S, Biamont B, Banta-Green C, WA State Community Drug Checking Network. The Use and Impact of Community Drug Checking Services. Seattle, WA: Addictions, Drug & Alcohol Institute, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Washington, November 2023.

Drug checking services (DCS) provide ways for people who use drugs to analyze the chemical contents of a drug sample so they can make safer, more informed choices about if or how they may use that drug. DCS are provided in a range of different ways, from self-test immunoassay strips (like fentanyl test strips) to programs that offer more advanced testing technologies.

The primary goal of drug checking services is to help people who use drugs make better-informed decisions about their drug use and reduce risks of overdose and other health consequences.

DCS reaches people who use drugs, are at risk for overdose, and who may not be well-served by other community programs. For many, DCS can be a critical entry point into other support and harm reduction services, such as safer use supplies, overdose education, social and health services, and more. Drug checking services are always voluntary and anonymous.

Related Resources

Read the new Drug Checking brief!

Watch the webinar: Drug Checking in Washington State
Recorded on December 5, 2023
Learn about the WA State Community Drug Checking Network (CDCN), a partnership of organizations around WA State that provide community-level drug checking and related harm reduction services.

New webpage: Drug Checking Results in Washington State
Data are now available online from WA's CDCN, indicating what substances are in drugs community members brought in for testing.

This new brief by Susan Kingston, Ben Biamont, and Caleb Banta-Green of ADAI’s Center for Community-Engaged Drug Education, Epidemiology and Research (CEDEER), describes drug checking services and their goals and benefits, their use in Washington State, the different technologies available, and the current research evidence supporting drug checking services.

The brief also describes the Washington State Community Drug Checking Network (CDCN), a partnership of organizations formed in 2022 to develop and implement a coordinated, statewide system of community-based drug checking.

Read the new ADAI Brief | Watch the recorded webinar about this work

Posted 11/2023, updated 12/21/2023