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Fiona Measham

Professor of Criminology in the Department of Sociology at Durham University

Fiona Measham has been a Professor of Criminology in the Department of Sociology at Durham University since 2013. Fiona has conducted research for three decades exploring changing trends in drugs and intoxication, festival and night time economies, and the wider socio-cultural context to consumption. Fiona’s current research programme includes annual research at UK festivals exploring the prevalence and policing of festival drug and alcohol use; mapping local drug markets; research and evaluation of European drug safety testing services; a study of sexual harassment and sexual violence at festivals; and a partnership developing rapid forensic analysis for public health. Fiona completed her US Inside-Out prison exchange programme instructor training in 2013 and with Durham University colleagues, introduced Inside-Out in the UK in 2014. She is Director of an Inside-Out programme at two men’s and one women’s prisons taught at undergraduate and postgraduate level and accredited by Durham University. After qualifying as a yoga teacher with the UK Yoga Alliance in 2018 she now incorporates this in her prison teaching. Fiona was appointed to the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs by the Home Secretary in 2009 to 2018 and remains a member of the ACMD Technical Standing Committee and New Psychoactive Substances Standing Committee. Fiona is a member of David Nutt’s DrugScience committee. Fiona is co-founder and co-director of The Loop (in the UK in 2013) and The Loop Safety Testing (in Australia in 2018), charities providing an integrated service of drugs, alcohol and sexual health advice and support, forensic testing, brief interventions, research and evaluation. The Loop is best known for introducing Multi Agency Safety Testing to UK festivals in 2016 and UK cities in 2018. For more details see: www.wearetheloop.org and www.theloop.org.au/

Testing times: Developing pill testing services in the UK and Australia

Pill testing as a harm reduction intervention has a long history in Europe, and more recently in the UK. This workshop will provide an overview of the background to the development of pill testing services in the UK, including some of the outcomes that have been seen so far. We will demonstrate the FTIR (Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy) technology and explain the science behind the analysis. We will also be discussing the service model proposed by The Loop Australia - the model that we are planning to roll out to festivals across the country when the time is right and politicians agree to this vital harm reduction initiative. We are keen to hear from festival goers about how they think pill testing services should work in practice, on the ground in the Australian context.