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Friday 10, February

Good stuff? Berlin to introduce ‘drug checking’ this march

The scheme has been planned for five years but, starting this March, Berliners will be able to have the drugs tested for quality and potential contamination.

Looks quite strong, that one. Photo: IMAGO / Cavan Images

Friday 10, February

On Friday, there were 260 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 55.6 cases per 100,000 people

Berlin to introduce drug safety-checking this March

The plans have been in the works for five years already but now it’s finally happening. From this March, drug users in Berlin will be able to bring illicit substances like MDMA, cocaine and heroin and have them tested for quality, dosage and potential contamination without fear of arrest. The scheme is based on a model which has been in place in Switzerland, Austria and the Netherlands since the 1990s, and has been proven to save lives, warning drug users of possible contamination.

As expected, the plans have been controversial and Berlin’s more right-wing political parties are against it. CDU health expert Tim-Christopher Zeelen has previously compared the idea to checking the getaway vehicle of a bank robber, while the FDP issued a statement saying that the measure would “trivialise the use of drugs.”

The testing will be carried out in different locations across the city, but anyone planning to get their drugs tested will need to plan ahead: it takes three days to get results. In the future, the scheme may be expanded to include rapid testing stations placed outside clubs.