B Traits | Radio 1 DJ & Patron of The Loop
Brianna feels honoured to represent the Loop as a patron. She utilizes her influential position to full effect by tackling pressing issues like the need for widely accessible drug safety information, as well as fighting passionately for a rich and progressive club scene in the UK. She has collaborated with Professor Fiona Measham and The Loop on various projects including her BBC 3 documentary ‘How Safe Are My Drugs?’ and has participated in a number of conferences and discussions across the UK and overseas. Brianna has supported front of house MAST testing from the beginning, and believes that testing opens the dialogue, promotes harm reduction, and saves lives.
Jon Drape | Managing Director, Ground Control & Patron of The Loop
This year Kendal Calling were delighted to be one of the first festivals to offer The Loop’s ground-breaking Multi Agency Safety Testing (MAST) on site in July 2016.
As festival organisers, we work very closely with our colleagues in the Police Force to do everything we can to prevent controlled substances being brought on to site, and to actively pursue those suspected of drug dealing. Despite these stringent measures, we have to accept that there will be some substances in circulation and we have a duty of care to minimise the risk to festival-goers.
The MAST testing service offered by The Loop allowed our customers to come and test substances of concern and then undertake a harm reduction session with a trained drug worker. Following the session, we found that 1 in 5 customers then chose to amnesty remaining substances that they had on them.
Having the pop-up lab on site also meant we were able to continually test and identify substances confiscated during seizures and deposited into amnesty bins as well as samples given to medics. Working closely with the Police and Professor Measham we could, when necessary, put out harm reduction messaging via our digital channels.
We feel that MAST is a radical but absolutely necessary festival provision. It has been one of the most effective new harm reduction measures we have been able to put in place at Kendal Calling. Quite simply, there is no other Welfare Provider offering this kind of service that safeguards and protects our customers in such a unique and forward-thinking way.
Jon is also Events Director, Kendal Calling, Parklife, Festival No.6, Blue Dot, Snowbombing and many more...
Sacha Lord-Marchionne | Director, The Warehouse Project
The Warehouse Project has worked closely with The Loop since it first started and has supported its growth from a fledgling Manchester-based volunteer service to the national NGO that it has expanded into.
On the opening night of The Warehouse Project season, 27th September 2013, sadly, Nick Bonnie died from a drugs overdose. On a personal level, this is something that will never leave me. There isn’t a day that goes by without me thinking about the tragedy or his family. What could we have done to avoid the tragedy, is a question that I ask myself time and time again. The actual answer, is nothing. We were already going above and beyond what we were expected to do. We run one of the most stringent policies in the country.
I was very much aware of Professor Fiona Measham prior to the tragedy. In fact, we had already scheduled Fiona Measham to work alongside the Home Office at some WHP events in order to test confiscated drugs. Literally from the tragedy, to the end of the series of 2013 events, The Loop and Fiona Measham helped us to educate our crowd. The Loop attended each and every event. Our customer feedback from the presence of The Loop was incredible.
Since that night in September 2013, The Loop has delivered a welfare and harm reduction service at every Warehouse Project event, and at the Parklife Weekender since the summer of 2013. Each autumn at the start of the new WHP autumn season, our staff receive updated drugs awareness training from The Loop’s professional trainers. Over the years The Loop’s team has grown not only in size but in enthusiasm, professionalism and dedication to the welfare of our customers.
Furthermore, together with the support of Greater Manchester Police, the Loop has pioneering a unique forensic testing service at the Warehouse Project and at Parklife since 2013 to help inform emergency services on-site and reduce drug-related incidents. We are proud to say that the Warehouse Project was the first (and to date is still the only) nightclub in the UK that conducts forensic testing on site for public safety. With Fiona’s understanding of drug markets and my understanding of the clubbing scene, Fiona and I work closely together to respond rapidly to any potentially dangerous drugs in circulation and flag up concerns in periodic social media alerts, such as the misselling of methoxetamine as ketamine and the sale of very high purity ecstasy pills, both of which resulted in hospitalisations. The Warehouse Project and The Loop were also the first organisations in the UK to flag up concerns about the deadly red Superman pills. Data collected at our events then feeds in to the largest and longest running academic study of trends in recreational drug use in the UK by Durham University, to inform and improve customer welfare in the night time economy.
We believe that this partnership has helped to reduce drug-related incidents at our events. We are delighted to see how The Loop has grown and will continue to work closely with them as they expand across the UK and Europe. Moving forward, we will always ask for The Loop’s support, whether it is the WHP, Parklife or elsewhere. In return, we will also support them, nominating them as one of our official chosen charities.
Cameron Leslie | Owner, Fabric
Fabric London have been working in partnership with The Loop since 2014. This partnership is important because it helps us understand what is happening and why with regards to recreational drugs which enables us to devise an appropriate and fluid strategy for our club.
The Loop help in providing a balance between law enforcement and the welfare aspect by giving us an honest, unbiased view of what is happening.
The Loop have shaped the training of our team and provide onsite support, where interact with patrons in such a way as to not judge them. This helps with real education and is vital to harm reduction.
We get information on trends and problems far quicker through an organisation that has its finger on the pulse of these issues. It is far better and more reliable than relying on press/media and/or local/government authorities.
Professor Fiona Measham in particular has been a highly supportive and hugely knowledgeable guide for us in mapping out the safest possible environment for our customers. Without doubt, our partnership with the Loop has helped reduce drug-related incidents at our events.
Laura Hunt | Police Silver Commander, the Secret Garden Party
As the Police Silver Commander for the Secret Garden Party it is my role to tactically deliver the strategy set for me by my Gold Commander. His overarching strategy included the intentions of the police; namely, to safeguard, to work in partnership, to prevent and detect crime.
At my first meeting with Dr Fiona Measham, and, indeed, upon hearing about ‘The Loop’, I saw an opportunity to safeguard; to minimise the risk of harm to festival-goers. At a tactical level, having led the policing operation concerned with the Secret Garden Party for many years, I thought that the range of harm reduction measures already in place was fairly extensive. Certainly, for several years we [the police] have drug-tested on site and provided information as to what has been seized or found so as to reduce harm.
However, ‘The Loop’ goes further!! Using the same drug-testing equipment as that used by Cambridgeshire Constabulary, individuals can learn from professionals the exact nature of the substance that they have provided for testing. It is real front-of-house stuff, and, as evidenced by the figures, many individuals, once they had heard from the drug workers, indicated their intention to dispose of their remaining substances.
Like the Gold Commander for the Kendal Festival I will work with my police colleagues and others to do everything that I can to prevent controlled drugs coming onto the site; to detect and prosecute those intent on supplying.
That stated, and, indeed, despite large numbers of confiscations, seizures and finds, it is reasonable to suppose that some substances will get on site. ‘The Loop’ provides an additional layer of safeguarding and protection.
At the conclusion of this year’s policing event my Gold Commander commented:-
“All my conversations with organisers and partners were very positive!! Work was exceptionally innovative around safeguarding and harm reduction. The approach taken around drugs and ‘The Loop’ has attracted significant positive media interest. True partnership working centred on pragmatism and harm reduction”.
Justin Bibby | Superintendent, North Cumbria Police. Kendal Calling Gold Command
In my view front of house testing adds an additional safeguarding layer to the overall approach to drugs and is an important aspect of my Gold Strategy to minimise the risk of harm to festival goers.
My intention as the police Gold Commander is to do everything I can to prevent controlled substances coming onto a site and work with the festival organisers to detect and prosecute those intent on supplying, and confiscate all that we find. That said, it is reasonable to assume that we will not be able to prevent all substances getting through and therefore the front of house approach affords a further layer of protection to try and minimise the risk to those intent on using.
I had the pleasure of visiting The Loop at Kendal Calling and I was very impressed by both their professionalism, and the holistic approach taken by the team to reduce the harm caused by controlled drugs. I am very much looking forward to working with The Loop again.
Luke Laws | General Manager, Fabric
The Loop have been invaluable for us to develop our welfare team at fabric. Their knowledge and expertise are second to none and are always happy to help us. I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending The Loop to anyone wanting to provide welfare in their organisation.
Steve Moore | Director, Volteface
The Loop is a properly pioneering project. It is not just worthy but vital. It might just save lives. Volteface proudly support the work of Fiona Measham and The Loop.
Becca Frankland | Clubs & Dance Music Editor, Skiddle
We've been helping people fill dancefloors for 16 years, so we feel it's equally, probably more so, important to make sure that the people who populate them are looked after. As such we're massive champions of what the Loop do, firmly believing that their pioneering work is shaking rigid and out of date attitudes towards young people and how they party.
Prun Bijral | Medical Director, Change Grow Live
I observed The Loop in action at The Warehouse Project in Manchester. It was a fascinating experience and I was particularly intrigued by the level of technical detail involved with this method of substance testing. Clearly The Loop is well established at The Warehouse Project as an integral harm reduction service as well as providing a known safe environment for clubbers.
In a clubbing environment where we know that some level of substance use is inevitable, it’s critical that we ensure people are using substances in the safest way possible. The Loop, in partnership with the WHP, is doing as much as it can to support people to make informed and safer decisions. During my visit I was able to see the team test substances brought by the medical team, and within minutes inform them of drug class, and purity, to facilitate the care of individuals who may have required support. It’s a truly ground breaking approach, and under the leadership of Professor Measham I can see how this could become an integral and essential service in festivals and clubs alike
Visitor to The Loop at Parklife 2017
Me and a friend came to The Loop tent on Sunday because she had her first ecstasy tablet and started to get a bit panicky and paranoid. There was a woman with a plait and flowers in her hair - I can''t remember her name but she was really good. She was completely non-judgemental and reminded me of a mum or mother figure as she was so so comforting! I think it's really good what The Loop do and hope that I see these tents set up at more festivals throughout the year - because of this woman and the atmosphere in the tent my friend was able to calm down and we could go back out and see Carl Cox!!!!
Mother of Warehouse Project customer
Two weeks ago I had a phone call at 3am from a drugs worker at WHP. My 20 year old daughter and one of her friends had taken MDMA and possibly another hallucinogen, 2CB, and were seriously disturbed. So I picked them up, nice middle class kids both. Probably with some experience of this kind of drug but not enough. Off their heads, randomly striking out at ambulance staff and others, shouting, yelling, wrestling, carried into the car and then into the house- we only got them home with the help of the WHP security staff who were exemplary in their patience and tolerance. If no-one had picked them up they would undoubtedly been arrested (perhaps should have been arrested) and/or hospitalised. If they’d wandered away from whp they could easily have ended up under a bus. After an hour or so of screaming, throwing furniture, striking out they flattened out and started to come to some realisation of what had happened, and how fortunate they had been to come to no harm… (Goes on to say) … Be grateful for those drug worker volunteers and security staff on a low hourly rate who might just scrape you up and save your life.
Jon Liebling | Political Director, United Patients Alliance
United Patients Alliance are delighted to give our support to The Loop and their MAST Drug Testing and welfare initiatives. Their harm reduction work is both ground breaking and essential in protecting the lives and heath of young people enjoying clubs and festivals in the UK. The unregulated drugs market is a major issue for cannabis consumers too and we look forward to working with and learning from The Loop so we can better protect and inform our supporters and promote safer consumption. Fantastic work.