The study is the first ever survey to follow up on people who have used a drug checking service at music festivals.
More than 90% of participants who completed a follow-up survey to a drug checking service said the intervention influenced their subsequent behaviour, the University of Liverpool research reveals.
Researchers of the peer-reviewed paper found of those whose substance was not as expected, more than half reported handing over the substance for destruction or discarding any that remained.
For participants whose substance was as expected, more than one-third reported intending to, and recollected having taken, a smaller dose following engaging with the drug checking service when asked onsite, and in the follow-up questionnaire (38% and 42% respectively).
Overall, of those who were followed up three months after using the service, 92% reported the advice they received made a difference to their drug taking behaviour.
The drug-checking service operated at three outdoor camping festivals in the UK – two had a largely young adult audience and the third was more family-orientated.
Substances of concern were voluntarily submitted by the public for chemical analysis, with results provided directly to participants to increase their knowledge of the substances they had taken or were planning to take.
The University of Liverpool’s Professor Fiona Measham, corresponding author of the paper and RMIT visiting fellow, said the study shed light on the decision-making process for drug users.
“We can see that, by and large, people are considerate and careful. It really challenges some of the biggest stereotypes about drug users and young adults,” she said.
“Whilst relatively small, this follow-up study demonstrates the potential value of post-intervention surveys in examining outcomes that would not otherwise be identified on-site.”