Network One: New England Community Drug Checking Innovations Network

Massachusetts Drug Supply Data Stream (MADDS) is a state-funded collaboration between Brandeis University, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and drug testing sites across the state. In the spring of 2023, RIZE funded several MADDs sites to launch Network One and to support the validation of xylazine test strips.

Throughout the process, the value of such a network became even more clear in understanding the evolving nature of the local drug supply, the effectiveness of harm reduction tools, and how to support harm reductionists in using these tools to address polysubstance use. To establish sustainability for the network, RIZE’s support will increase capacity and the ability to respond to evolving supply trends.

Specific proposed investments include:

  • One-time software and database system architecture buildouts to improve the efficiency, privacy, and streamlined operations.
  • Personnel for dedicated time to coordinate, communicate, organize protocols, and support community sites. 
  • An annual meeting for drug checking professionals within Network One for building network identity, exchanging ideas, reviewing progress and learning, and establishing harm reduction workforce specialization. 
  • Program investments to support the on-site operations for organizations engaging in Network One activities.

At capacity, Network One will include the following capabilities:

  • To be a resource for the drug checking community by cataloging and curating a library of products and supplies used in drug checking, including pros/cons and if Network One has tested them.
  • To provide real-world feedback on drug checking innovations by efficiently testing new products, procedures, and protocols for improving drug checking.
  • To inspire new inquiries about drug checking by enabling requests from the harm reduction community for testing new products, procedures, hypotheses, and protocols.
  • To create a place for collaboration, community-driven exploration, sharing lessons learned, and structured inquiry about drug checking data, technologies, procedures, and processes.