Drugchecking: “We do not award a seal of approval for careless use of drugs”

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This interview is part of the focus on drugs in everyday life. To this end, ZEIT ONLINE has published exclusive results of the Global Drug Survey, the world’s largest drug survey, in which some 35,000 readers participated.

Official bodies should chemically test psychoactive substances from the black market and report the results anonymously: that’s the idea behind the so-called drug-checking. A new Berlin project wants to make this possible at the state level. The offer is intended to protect users – from overdosed pills and possible impurities. The plan is controversial. Some fear that legal drug-checking might suggest a false sense of security and thus lead to consumption. The legal feasibility is still unclear. The pharmacist and activist Tibor Harrach is nevertheless convinced of the idea.

ZEIT ONLINE: Mr. Harrach, for more than twenty years you have been campaigning for a different drug policy. Why?

Tibor Harrach: In the nineties, I was a busy party-goer myself. Drug policy at that time was much more restrictive: what did not amount to deterrence and total abstinence was frowned upon. I wanted to change that. In the summer of 1995, I joined the scene project Eve & Rave together with other scene-goers, students, club operators and DJs. Our first success was our own brochure on low-risk consumption, which we distributed in the Berlin clubs. It said, for example: First, test half an ecstasy

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