(de) Drug checking from a medical point of view – Dr. med. med. Gernot Rücker


Drug-checking – the testing of illegal substances for their exact ingredients and their amount – means that users can avoid poisoning and overdosing. At the same time, it promotes highly reflective, self-controlled use and thus positively influences the risk behavior of the users in other ways: Only those who know what they are swallowing in which amount will learn to treat them with respect and caution and to learn suitable risk reduction strategies. Finally, drug-checking services can also contribute to better education about drugs and facilitate the contact of drug users to drug help.

Drug-checking was carried out in Germany in the 1990s, but its implementation has been blocked since 1996 by the Health and Safety Authorities. Regulatory hurdles have also been set up by the authorities since then, which make it possible to carry out drug-checking only on not insignificant legal conditions.

In several European countries, including the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and Austria, drug checking has been successfully offered for many years under the objectives described above. Scientific evaluations of the offers were able to largely eliminate the ethical and practical objections raised in Germany.