It’s time to test! Call for pop up labs to deliver drug safety testing in city centres across the country


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All funds will be collected by June 15, 2018.

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It’s #TimeToTest

Drug-related deaths in the UK are currently at record levels and nightclubs continue to close as a consequence. Ecstasy-related deaths have increased by a factor of 8 since 2010; cocaine-related deaths have tripled since 2011. Yet each new generation of young people start to experiment with drugs with limited knowledge of what they are taking or what they can do to reduce the risks of their drug use.

New technologies now exist to tackle these drug harms, educate young people who take drugs, and gain a greater understanding of substances in circulation. The Loop has successfully provided drug safety testing or ‘Multi Agency Safety Testing’ (MAST) as we call it, at music festivals for the last two summers and now we want to bring this service to city centres with brand new pop-up labs across the UK.

The Loop receives no government funding or grants and has achieved what it has to date through the hard work, determination and commitment of our Directors, volunteers, advocates and supporters. We charge a small fee for our services in order to cover the running costs of the organisation. However, if we want to expand our operations to be able to offer MAST in more locations including city centres then we urgently need funds to do this.

Read on to learn about our organisation and plans…

The Loop has over 500 dedicated and highly qualified volunteers who deliver our MAST service including PHD chemists & trained healthcare professionals

Background

The Loop is a non-profit social enterprise established in 2013 that provides testing, training, welfare and harm reduction services for nightclubs, festivals and other night-life events. The NGO was founded by co-directors Fiona Measham, Professor of Criminology at Durham University and Wilf Gregory, DJ and promoter. 

Fiona and Wilf founded The Loop as they were frustrated by the lack of harm reduction advice available to club and festival-goers alongside a growing need for this, given the easy availability and growing diversity of illegal drugs.  They share a passion to help keep people safe and reduce drug-related harm at music events, an environment that they have both worked in for over two decades, Fiona as a researcher and dancer, and Wilf as a DJ and promoter.

The Loop is an almost entirely volunteer led organisation. We have an amazing team of over 500 qualified and experienced professionals without whom we could not offer our services at events. Our chemists and healthcare professionals all give their time for free.

What is Multi-Agency Safety Testing?

Our award winning MAST service provides an opportunity for members of the public to bring substances of concern to the Loop’s pop-up lab for analysis. Our chemists analyse each sample to assess their contents and strength. Our healthcare professionals deliver test results back to service users embedded in individually tailored brief interventions, alongside harm reduction advice and information. These tests and brief interventions have been shown to reduce drug-related incidents on site at festivals and even potentially save lives.   

MAST was first trialled in 2016 at two summer music festivals (Secret Garden Party and Kendal Calling) and then rolled out at three festivals in 2017 (SGP, Kendal and Boomtown).  We are the first and to date, the only organisation operating this service in the country.

MAST testing has been very well received, you can read testimonials from festival and club management, police, healthcare professionals and users of the Loop’s services here. Secret Garden Party credited us with reducing drug-related hospital admissions by 95% and Boomtown credited us with reducing drug-related medical incidents onsite by 25%.

We have won a number of awards for the service including:

  • 2014: UK Festival Awards: Best Use of New Technology
  • 2016: Association of Independent Festivals: Act of Independence
  • 2017: Event Production Awards: Best Welfare Provider
  • 2017 UK Festival Awards: Innovation award
  • 2018 Event Production Awards: Best Supplier (shortlisted)

Our Mission

The next step in our journey is to bring MAST from the fields to the cities to help reduce drug-related harm in the night time economy, as supported in recent briefings by the Royal Society for Public Health and the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, and in the Loop’s new report, Night Lives (with APPG/Durham University/Volteface).

Our #TimeToTest crowdfunding campaign will help us to purchase equipment to expand our pop-up labs to operate around the country in city centres, so we can deliver MAST to many more people.

The Science

The Loop uses a series of up to four testing methods on each sample – FT infra red spectroscopy, ultra violet spectroscopy, reagent testing & mass loss analysis – to obtain as accurate an understanding of the contents as possible.

Infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR) is The Loop’s primary analysis method because it is fast, has a low cost-per-test and has excellent detection ability.   Infrared spectroscopy works by shining different wavelengths of infrared light onto a sample which will partly absorb certain wavelengths according to its chemical structure. Because every drug has a unique chemical structure, the absorption behaviour is unique for every compound which allows us to plot a graph called an “absorption spectrum”. We can then use a computer algorithm to compare this unique absorption spectrum to a comprehensive and ever expanding database of substances to locate the closest match with extreme accuracy.

UV spectroscopy is used to measure the amount of MDMA in ecstasy pills. This is a well-known technique which is resistant to minor adulteration in pills. It looks at the absorption of light at a single wavelength in the UV spectrum (286nm) which most other compounds do not absorb.

Mass loss analysis is a technique developed by the Loop to estimate the amount of MDMA in pills. We use infrared spectroscopy to confirm that the pill contains MDMA, then we use a chemical solvent to extract all ingredients except MDMA. We then weigh the resulting powder to estimate how much MDMA is in each pill.

To buy and maintain the equipment needed to conduct this range of in-depth analyses is understandably very costly but is essential if we want to be able to provide fast and accurate results to our service users.

A sample of a substance of concern submitted to The Loop for testing

Endorsements

Jon Drape, Managing Director Ground Control:

“I have worked closely with The Loop since the first trials of their ground-breaking Multi Agency Safety Testing at festivals in the summer of 2016. I have seen first hand how this service can have a really positive impact at events and play a key role in preventing drug related harm – something that I take very seriously.  As event organisers, we do everything we can to prevent people from bringing controlled substances on to site and to actively pursue those suspected of drug dealing, but we have to accept that there will always be some substances in circulation and we have a duty of care to minimise risk to festival-goers.  MAST has allowed us to do this in a pro-active and practical way.

We know that people don’t just take drugs at festivals, this is something that happens across the night-time economy and with ecstasy and cocaine deaths at an all time high, it is an issue that we cannot ignore.  I whole-heartedly support The Loop’s initiate to extend their MAST service from the fields into city centre locations.  This is a unique and forward-thinking service that can help to save lives and reduce drug related harm.” 

David Jamieson, West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner:

“We must look at new ways to keep young people safe. The Loop’s approach to testing drugs in night time districts or at festivals is a crucial tool to identify what drugs are on the street before harm has happened. All too often, we only find out about which drugs are being used once someone ends up in custody, in A&E, or even in the coroner’s office. This summer, the Loop will be working with me in the West Midlands to help protect our young people from the harms of drugs.”

Prun Bijral, Medical Director, Change Grow Live:

“I observed The Loop in action at The Warehouse Project in Manchester conducting back of house testing and found it a fascinating experience.  I was particularly intrigued by the level of technical detail involved with the methods they use to test substances of concern.

The Loop’s Multi-Agency Safety Testing service is a truly ground breaking approach to harm reduction. Following the success of the service at music festivals over the last two summers in reducing drug related harm, it is a very exciting prospect that they are now so close to being able to offer MAST in city centre locations.

We know that some level of substance use is inevitable within the night time economy therefore it’s critical that we ensure people are using substances in the safest way possible. I wholeheartedly support the #TimeToTest crowdfunder because I believe that under the leadership of Professor Measham, MAST could become an integral and essential service in cities across the country that will help people to make informed and safer decisions.”

How the funds will be used  

Our initial target is to raise £50k in 3 months to purchase state-of-the-art equipment for two more pop-up labs so that the Loop has five regional labs in total in the north, south, east, west and Midlands.   Each lab needs to be equipped with a minimum of two key pieces of equipment, an FTIR spectrometer & a Ultra Violet spectrometer, although ideally far more.

If we were able to exceed our target of £50k we would use the funds to pay for a number of smaller pieces of equipment and consumables that are used in the lab as well as premises costs for pop up labs and other logistical costs associated with transporting our teams of volunteers across the country to provide MAST.  We would also be able to expand our range of testing processes to ensure we are world leaders in the type of services we can offer.

Quite simply, the more The Loop can grow our infrastructure, the more people we can deliver our MAST service to.

This is a Bruker Alpha FTIR spectrometer – one of the key pieces of equipment needed in our regional lab hubs

To Thank you for your support!

All supporters will be kept up to date on the Loop news as well as becoming part of our growing community who support our harm reduction service as an essential mechanism for keeping people safe at events.

We have a few extra bonuses for those who support us too! We have been busy reaching out to our network for exciting perks to offer our supporters. So far we have tickets to some of the best festivals in Europe up for grabs as well as an opportunity to have lunch with top DJ B.Traits. We will be releasing new perks and prizes throughout the campaign so make sure you keep checking back. Also, even by making a small pledge you will automatically be put on our mailing list so you will be the first to hear about new prizes and campaign updates. We will also be releasing tickets to sold-out festivals during the campaign so do keep coming back!

Pledge £35 – Artwork print of drugs wheel

A limited edition A4 Loop Club Drugs Wheel artwork print.  This has been designed specifically for the campaign however you can find out more about the drugs wheel at http://www.thedrugswheel.com. Expected delivery August 2018.

Pledge £40 – VICE Safe Sesh T-shirt

Our friends at Vice are doing a one off print run of the legendary Loop and Vice ‘Safe Sesh’ t-shirts that so many of you wanted to buy off us at festivals and in clubs last year.  These really are like gold dust! Available in S, M, L, XL and are to be delivered in July. You will be contacted for your preferred size after ordering.

Pledge £75 – Artwork Print in A3

A limited edition A3 Loop Club Drugs Wheel artwork print.  This has been designed specifically for the campaign however you can find out more about the drugs wheel at http://www.thedrugswheel.com. Expected delivery August 2018

Pledge £200 – Festival Tickets

2 x Lost & Found festival tickets 3-6 May 2018, Malta (please note, accommodation and travel are not included)

Pledge £250 – VIP Festival Tickets

2 x VIP Lost & Found festival tickets 3–6 May 2018, Malta (please note, accommodation and travel are not included)

Pledge £300 – Festival Tickets

2 x Parklife VIP weekend tickets (over 18s) 9-10 June 2018 in Manchester. Tickets include: access to the VIP COLONNADE – a brand new exclusive backstage garden for Parklife 2018. Stage Door – your VIP-only entrance. AFTERLIFE – early access to afterparty tickets. Plus much much more.

Pledge £300 – Sold Out Festival Tickets

2 x *Sold Out* Kendal Calling weekend adult camping tickets 26-29 July 2018.

Pledge £300 – VIP Sold Out Festival Tickets

2 x *Sold Out* VIP Hideout Festival tickets 25-29 June 2018, Croatia. 5 days and nights, 5 open air venues,   pool, boat and beach parties all on Zcre Beach. (Please note, accommodation and travel are not included).

Pledge £340 – Festival Tickets

2 x Bluedot weekend adult camping tickets  20-22 July 2018, in Cheshire.

Pledge £400 – Festival Tickets

2 x Field Day VIP weekend tickets (over 18s) 1-2 June 2018, in London. Tickets include: exclusive access to the Field Day Hospitality Tent, private toilets, cocktail bar and food outlets. Fast-track entry.

Pledge £500 – Original Artwork

Title: Sunrise, Artist: Vintage Disco Biscuit, Size: 20” x 20”
Description: stunning limited edition signed gallery print on metallic paper and encased in 6mm crystal clear acrylic.

Pledge £600 – Festival Tickets

2 x Festival Number 6 VIP weekend tickets  6-9 September 2018 in Wales. Tickets include: exclusive access to our new VIP bar located in Castell Park. Complimentary Park & Ride. Express Lanes for coach shuttles.

Pledge £1000 – Lunch with B.Traits!

Enjoy an exclusive lunch with DJ and Loop patron B.Traits.  Lunch to be held in London in September.

The Team

Fiona Measham | Director

Fiona has been Professor of Criminology at Durham University since 2013, conducted research on changing trends in nightlife, drug and alcohol use and policy implications for over 25 years, and has been going to clubs for even longer.

She was the author of the UK’s first academic study on the the relationship between dance music and drugs: ‘Dancing on Drugs: Risk, Health and Hedonism in the British Club Scene’, focused on 1990s Manchester dance clubs. 

Fiona was appointed to the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs by the Home Secretary in 2009. Other public appointments include to the Home Office Ministerial Expert Panel on New Psychoactive Substances (2014) by Norman Baker MP, Minister for Crime Prevention, to Public Health England’s Drug Treatment Expert Reference Group (2015) and to the Liberal Democrat expert panel on cannabis regulation (2015).

Her frustration at lack of progress in UK drug policy combined with her genetic predisposition to contrariness led her to co-found the Loop and she has been on a mission to improve the health, well being and overall experience of clubbers and festival-goers ever since. Read articles by, and interviews with, Fiona here.

Wilf Gregory | Director

Wilf is the founder and director of a number of festivals across Europe, including Lost & Found and Hideout. His passion for music began from a very early age, and after he first started DJing at the age of 16, it wasn’t long before his path to promoting events was formed, also setting up record labels New Vibe and Bad Attitude.

He started his Metropolis club brand in 2002 in Manchester. Despite living a teetotal lifestyle himself, he sees it as the responsibility of event organisers to ensure those at events are aware of their actions. It was this thinking that led him to co-found the Loop in 2013.

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CONTINUE
  • 26 Backers

    Thank you for supporting the Loop! Your support will help us scale up our harm reduction service in the UK which has already been attributed to saving lives through the festivals we have worked at.

  • 15 Backers
    Limit of 500 — 485 remaining

    Artwork Print: A limited edition A4 Loop Club Drugs Wheel artwork print. This has been designed specifically for the campaign however you can find out more about the drugs wheel at http://www.thedrugswheel.com. Expected delivery August 2018

  • 24 Backers
    Limit of 200 — 176 remaining

    Safe Sesh T-Shirt: Our friends at Vice are doing a one off print run of the legendary Loop and Vice 'Safe Sesh' t-shirts that so many of you wanted to buy off us at festivals and in clubs last year. These really are like gold dust! Available in S, M, L, XL and are to be delivered in July. You will be contacted for your preferred size after ordering.

  • 5 Backers
    Limit of 500 — 495 remaining

    Artwork Print: A limited edition A3 Loop Club Drugs Wheel artwork print. This has been designed specifically for the campaign however you can find out more about the drugs wheel at http://www.thedrugswheel.com. Expected delivery August 2018

  • Backers
    Limit of 1 — 1 remaining

    Festival Tickets: 2 x Lost & Found festival tickets 3-6 May 2018, Malta (please note, accommodation and travel are not included)

  • Backers
    Limit of 2 — 2 remaining

    VIP Festival Tickets: 2 x VIP Lost & Found festival tickets 3–6 May 2018, Malta (please note, accommodation and travel are not included)

  • Backers
    Limit of 1 — 1 remaining

    Sold Out Festival Tickets: 2 x *Sold Out* Kendal Calling weekend adult camping tickets 26-29 July 2018.

  • 1 Backer
    Limit of 2 — 1 remaining

    Festival Tickets: 2 x Parklife VIP weekend tickets (over 18s) 9-10 June 2018 Tickets include: access to THE VIP COLONNADE - A brand new exclusive backstage garden for Parklife 2018 Stage Door - your VIP only entrance AFTERLIFE - early access to tickets Plus much much more.

  • 1 Backer
    Limit of 2 — 1 remaining

    VIP Sold Out Festival Tickets: 2 x *Sold Out* VIP Hideout Festival tickets 25-29 June 2018, Croatia. 5 days and nights, 5 open air venues, pool, boat and beach parties all on Zcre Beach. (Please note, accommodation and travel are not included).

  • Backers
    Limit of 1 — 1 remaining

    Festival Tickets: 2 x Bluedot weekend adult camping tickets 20-22 July 2018

  • 1 Backer
    All gone!

    Festival Tickets: 2 x Field Day VIP weekend tickets (over 18s) 1-2 June 2018, London Tickets include: Exclusive access to the Field Day Hospitality Tent Private toilets, cocktail bar and food outlets Fast-track entry

  • Backers
    Limit of 1 — 1 remaining

    Original Artwork: Receive this stunning limited edition signed gallery print on metallic paper and encased in 6mm crystal clear acrylic. The artist is Vintage Disco Biscuit (see main text for details and image)

  • Backers
    Limit of 1 — 1 remaining

    Festival Tickets: 2 x Festival Number 6 VIP weekend tickets 6-9 September 2018 Tickets include: Exclusive access to our new VIP bar located in Castell Park Complimentary Park & Ride Express Lanes for coach shuttles

  • 2 Backers
    Limit of 6 — 4 remaining

    Celebrity Lunch: Enjoy an exclusive lunch with Radio 1 DJ and Loop patron B Traits. Lunch to be held in September

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General Overview

Select your pledge amount

£

CONTINUE
  • 26 Backers

    Thank you for supporting the Loop! Your support will help us scale up our harm reduction service in the UK which has already been attributed to saving lives through the festivals we have worked at.

  • 15 Backers
    Limit of 500 — 485 remaining

    Artwork Print: A limited edition A4 Loop Club Drugs Wheel artwork print. This has been designed specifically for the campaign however you can find out more about the drugs wheel at http://www.thedrugswheel.com. Expected delivery August 2018

  • 24 Backers
    Limit of 200 — 176 remaining

    Safe Sesh T-Shirt: Our friends at Vice are doing a one off print run of the legendary Loop and Vice 'Safe Sesh' t-shirts that so many of you wanted to buy off us at festivals and in clubs last year. These really are like gold dust! Available in S, M, L, XL and are to be delivered in July. You will be contacted for your preferred size after ordering.

  • 5 Backers
    Limit of 500 — 495 remaining

    Artwork Print: A limited edition A3 Loop Club Drugs Wheel artwork print. This has been designed specifically for the campaign however you can find out more about the drugs wheel at http://www.thedrugswheel.com. Expected delivery August 2018

  • Backers
    Limit of 1 — 1 remaining

    Festival Tickets: 2 x Lost & Found festival tickets 3-6 May 2018, Malta (please note, accommodation and travel are not included)

  • Backers
    Limit of 2 — 2 remaining

    VIP Festival Tickets: 2 x VIP Lost & Found festival tickets 3–6 May 2018, Malta (please note, accommodation and travel are not included)

  • Backers
    Limit of 1 — 1 remaining

    Sold Out Festival Tickets: 2 x *Sold Out* Kendal Calling weekend adult camping tickets 26-29 July 2018.

  • 1 Backer
    Limit of 2 — 1 remaining

    Festival Tickets: 2 x Parklife VIP weekend tickets (over 18s) 9-10 June 2018 Tickets include: access to THE VIP COLONNADE - A brand new exclusive backstage garden for Parklife 2018 Stage Door - your VIP only entrance AFTERLIFE - early access to tickets Plus much much more.

  • 1 Backer
    Limit of 2 — 1 remaining

    VIP Sold Out Festival Tickets: 2 x *Sold Out* VIP Hideout Festival tickets 25-29 June 2018, Croatia. 5 days and nights, 5 open air venues, pool, boat and beach parties all on Zcre Beach. (Please note, accommodation and travel are not included).

  • Backers
    Limit of 1 — 1 remaining

    Festival Tickets: 2 x Bluedot weekend adult camping tickets 20-22 July 2018

  • 1 Backer
    All gone!

    Festival Tickets: 2 x Field Day VIP weekend tickets (over 18s) 1-2 June 2018, London Tickets include: Exclusive access to the Field Day Hospitality Tent Private toilets, cocktail bar and food outlets Fast-track entry

  • Backers
    Limit of 1 — 1 remaining

    Original Artwork: Receive this stunning limited edition signed gallery print on metallic paper and encased in 6mm crystal clear acrylic. The artist is Vintage Disco Biscuit (see main text for details and image)

  • Backers
    Limit of 1 — 1 remaining

    Festival Tickets: 2 x Festival Number 6 VIP weekend tickets 6-9 September 2018 Tickets include: Exclusive access to our new VIP bar located in Castell Park Complimentary Park & Ride Express Lanes for coach shuttles

  • 2 Backers
    Limit of 6 — 4 remaining

    Celebrity Lunch: Enjoy an exclusive lunch with Radio 1 DJ and Loop patron B Traits. Lunch to be held in September