October 28, 2018
In 1999, when Drogart was officially established, electronic music had entered the mainstream along with various accompanying drugs, most notably MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy, and other psychoactive substances popular on the dancefloor.
As most of these drugs were not only quite common but also illegal, it very often happened that young people, believing they were taking their desired drug in a certain amount, were actually given something completely different and sometimes much more harmful. From this need for user protection, adequate information sharing and counselling, emerged Drogart, which then extended its activities into the fields of alcohol harm reduction, (safe) sex (under the influence) and various collaborations with related initiatives.
One of the first steps Drogart took in establishing its services was in setting up a website with information that includes a list of substances currently found on the club scene along with an analysis of their contents. As the website is in Slovenian only, an important note for ecstasy users, for example, is to adjust their MDMA intake to 1- 1.5 mg per kg of bodyweight: a person weighting 60 kg, for example, should not take more than 90 mg of MDMA in order to avoid any undesirable effects of the drug spoiling their evening and perhaps even worse. Also, recent tests have shown that ecstasy pills have gotten very high in MDMA content, prompting a popular slogan “a quarter is the new half”. You can check the contents of specific pills here.
Make no mistake, however, Drogart is not promotor of drug taking. Its services stem from the realisation that abstinence-only campaigns in the absence of drug use awareness programmes don’t lead to less drug use, but to riskier behaviour among drug users. We can illustrate this with studies on the sexual behaviour of teens, which show a positive correlation between the amount of teen pregnancies and spread of venereal disease in those states of the USA whose policies are in favour of teaching abstinence over sex education and birth control. Similarly, the drug harm alleviation programmes of Drogart have proven to be effective in their efforts to inform, educate and counsel, as Drogart users mostly consist of those party-goers who are willing to take less risk, precisely due to their greater awareness of the potential dangers hiding in all sorts of mystery pills and powders.
These are also the reasons why Drogart works hand-in-hand with relevant government institutions. The drug-testing service it offers is part of the Early Warning System for new Psychoactive Substances, coordinated by the National Institute of Public Health. Until recently, sample drugs left at Drogart offices have been tested by the National Forensic Laboratory, with the police being involved logistically by picking the samples – after the users have left the premises – and taking them to the lab. From this year on, however, samples will be tested by the National Laboratory of Health, Environment and Food in Maribor. Drogart is thus an important part of the national health and safety system, which includes cooperation with the Toxicology Centre of the University Medical Centre Ljubljana and its poisoning reports and warnings, along with the Ministry of Health, police and various non-government organisations.
In the near future Drogart is about to take its testing services to the field in the form of a portable lab unit. Until then, users are welcome to take their samples to one of the Drogart’s Info Points or other associations that collaborate in the testing services at various locations throughout the country. For the addresses and contact information, please click here.
Apart from the drug-testing services, visitors are always welcome to come by, collect or exchange information on the current situation in the field, discuss their personal lives or just talk to someone on the topics of drug and alcohol in ways that they might not able to do elsewhere.