ACT Extends Funding for CanTEST Drug Checking Service Until 2027

ACT, Australia

The ACT Government has announced it will continue to fund CanTEST Health and Drug Checking Service until June 2027, extending its current funding commitment by $1.8 million. The service, which began in July 2022 under a six-month pilot, has been extended due to its successful results in harm minimisation. In the first 22 months of operation, CanTEST tested more than 2,600 samples, with over 10 per cent of samples being voluntarily discarded by clients following testing.

The service has also provided over 3,600 health and alcohol and drug interventions to individuals and groups, with some clients receiving multiple interventions in one visit. CanTEST provides chemical analysis of drugs and pills to help users better understand the unknown and potentially dangerous substances in illicit drugs.

ACT Chief Minister, Andrew Barr, stated that the additional funding will continue to provide reliable drug and pill testing services to the Canberra community, helping individuals make informed choices and reduce the risks associated with illicit substances. Minister for Population Health, Emma Davidson, added that drug testing saves lives, and CanTEST has proven to drive healthier choices across the community.

The ACT Government’s commitment to harm minimisation aligns with the National Drug Strategy 2016-2026 and the ACT Drug Strategy Action Plan 2022-2026. CanTEST is run by Directions Health Services in partnership with Pill Testing Australia and Canberra Alliance for Harm Minimisation and Advocacy. The free and confidential service is open every Thursday from 3pm – 6pm and Friday from 6pm – 9pm at the City Community Health Centre, 1 Moore Street Civic.