"The Massachusetts Drug Supply Data Stream (MADDS) is the country's first statewide community drug checking program. Founded on public health-public safety partnerships, MADDS collects remnant drug packaging and paraphernalia with residue from people who use drugs and noncriminal samples from partnering police departments. MADDS tests samples using simultaneous immunoassay fentanyl test strips, Fourier-transform infrared spectrometry (FTIR), and off-site laboratory testing by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC/MS). Results are accessible to community programs and municipalities, while trend analyses inform public health for cross-site alerts and informational bulletins.
"MADDS was launched statewide in 2020 and rapidly expanded to a multisite program. Program staff approached communities and met with municipal police and community partners to secure written agreements to host drug checking. Community partners designed sample collection consistent with their pandemic era workflows. Consultations with stakeholders gathered feedback on design and deliverables.
"The program tests sample donations on-site from community agencies and police departments, incorporates review by a medical toxicologist for health and safety concerns, crafts stakeholder-specific communications, and disseminates English, Spanish, and Portuguese language materials. For 2020, a total of 427 samples were tested, of which 47.1% were positive for fentanyl. By early 2021, MADDS detected shifts in cocaine purity, alerted communities of a new toxic fentanyl analogue and a synthetic cannabinoid contaminant, and confirmed the increase of xylazine (a veterinary sedative) in Massachusetts.
"Community drug checking programs can be collaboratively designed with public health and public safety to generate critical health and safety information for people who use drugs and the communities where they live."
Green, T. C., Olson, R., Jarczyk, C., Erowid, E., Erowid, F., Thyssen, S., Wightman, R., Del Pozo, B., Michelson, L., Consigli, A., Reilly, B., & Ruiz, S. (2022). Implementation and Uptake of the Massachusetts Drug Supply Data Stream: A Statewide Public Health-Public Safety Partnership Drug Checking Program. Journal of public health management and practice : JPHMP, 28(Suppl 6), S347–S354. doi.org/10.1097/PHH.0000000000001581.