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ID: HR19-861

Presenting author: Galyna Sergiienko

Presenting author biography:

Galyna is the creative coordinator of - harm reduction, sexual and mental health resource for experimenting young people. She has art and design background and intrinsic knowledge of modern nightlife culture and recreational drug scene. Galyna also coordinates harm reduction activities at rave festivals. Drug checking service in Ukraine explores recreational drug scene

Galyna Sergiienko, Vyacheslav Kushakov, Iana Sazonova

The innovative project implemented by the Alliance for Public Health with support from Elton John AIDS Foundation has introduced a drug checking service.

We distributed 317 rapid qualitative and semi-quantitative tests at Brave Factory and Rhythm Büro electronic music festivals. Drugstore also conducted a rapid assessment to inform further development of the service. Participation of peers in the team has considerably facilitated both the delivery of service and participation in the assessment.

We have involved 170 people (including 64 women and 1 transgender) aged 18 to 40 who routinely participate in the nightlife culture and use psychoactive substances for recreational purposes. The most common substances used (excluding alcohol, tobacco and marijuana) were MDMA, amphetamine, LSD, cocaine, ketamine and methamphetamine. The study confirmed the increasing popularity of Internet- and messenger-based sales of psychoactive substances that is becoming as common as sales through dealers. 24% of respondents at Rhythm Büro and 29% at Brave Factory reported using Internet to buy their substances. The role of social networking is substantial with 29% at Brave Factory and 37% at Rhythm Büro buying drugs from their friends or acquaintances and 17% to 30% getting them for free from their social networks. Only a small proportion (3 to 8%) reported buying their drugs at the venue, while the majority comes already prepared for the party or rely on supplies from their social network.

For the vast majority this was the first exposure to drug checking. The participants were asked about the preferred feedback channels and as many as 81 people provided their contact details to Drugstore team.

We have identified sales of methamphetamine as MDMA and sales of significantly adulterated cocaine. We continue collecting and analysing feedback, which will be utilised to support Drugstore efforts to establish real time checking of samples provided by the clients.