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harm reduction
health and social responses
public health

New guidance for drug checking services in health risk communication


The new guidance for drug checking services manual by EMCDDA underlines the need for approaches that are grounded in the best evidence available or principles of effective and safe health risk communication. To date, there has been relatively little evaluation of how communications and alerts of drug checking services are developed and delivered.

The manual is based on the findings of international evidence reviews of health risk communication, communication guidelines published by international organisations, and specific initiatives undertaken with people who use drugs and the services that support them. It includes:

  • theory, scientific evidence and principles of health risk communication in the public health field and its relevance for drug checking services
  • guidance in public communication 
  • suggestions and resources to support drug checking services in incorporating data collection, monitoring and evaluation in their communication strategies.

The role of drug checking services within a wider public health response to drug-related harms has become increasingly relevant in recent times due to increasingly potent and diverse substances on the market. This report explores how services can ensure that their activities are both evidence-based and evidence-generating, helping to build consensus and standards in health risk communication on drugs in the future.

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