Learn from others
Due to the COVID-19 pandamic, the external laboratory of the drug checking project Energy Control closed and its team stopped all interventions at parties, festivals and in schools. Now they are using other techniques in their offices to test drug samples that were collected in consumption rooms. In addition, they inform about harms connected to COVID-19 and risky forms of drug use.
Here is a quick snapshot about our situation:
We closed all the services (in secondary schools, in parties, trainings, drug checking etc.). The lab closed the doors, so we had to also stop the international drug checking services. We are now working with alternatives like to do thin layer chromatography (TLC) in our office, testing a few urgent heroin samples (collected by consumption rooms from Barcelona and Metzineres project). In addition, we are preparing the security protocols to open the drug checking points in the near future.
We are basically working at home and participte through mail/phone and participating in live streaming or virtual trainings and conferences.
During these weeks of confinement, we are focusing on social media to maintain contact with our target population, creating contents and disseminating (for example every day a drug song, books recommendations for the book's week, films and documentaries about drugs, promoting the target participation through the 'challenge of risk reduction memes', developing and implementing the fundraising campaign for drug checking service in Madrid,...).
In that sense, we did specific information about drugs and COVID-19 for drug users and another one specific for chemsex context. Last week we organised an online streaming about women & drugs at parties.
We are trying to adapt our outreach intervention at parties to this new situation. We are doing some pilot interventions in virtual parties/music lives streaming but we have to explore more options and improve the methodology to deal with some barriers (such as the lack of privacy in social networks).
We closed just this week an online survey about the impact of covid on both drug market and drug use (in 3 south European cities), so we will have more information about it soon.
Finally, since January until now we are working on the revision and updating of the EC basis and a communication plan for the next two years. Covid times allow us to stop and to think about ourselves, our mission and future’s vision and to work hard in projects as the new web that we will launch soon.
Difficult times, but we are still working a lot. We don't know what will happen in the next months, when the clubs and festivals open the doors again and which will be the new nightlife conditions, but obviously we really would love to go back to the party scene and get in touch with our users again.
Energy Control is a harm reduction project in nightlife settings of the Spanish NGO Asociación Bienestar y Desarrollo (ABD)
Tel: 607 191 386