The Loop Drug Testing Service Appoints CEO

Katy pic
Katy Porter, The Loop’s first CEO.

The Loop, by its own admission the UK’s “first and only dedicated drug checking not-for-profit organisation,” appointed a new CEO, Katy Porter.

Porter is a highly experienced senior manager in health care and a trustee and vice chair for youth homeless charity Depaul UK.

The Loop also appointed a full-time administrator, Ursh Skeet, creating a solid foundation for continuing to develop the organization’s services, reach wider communities and more individuals, and find opportunities to secure further funding to do so.

Pollstar has reported on the valuable work of The Loop multiple times, as its drug checking facilities on site at various UK festivals provided festivalgoers with a chance to make sure any substances in their possessions are indeed safe to use.

Drugs At Festivals: ‘The Zero-Tolerance Approach Doesn’t Work’

As a result, there have been no reported drug fatalities at festivals where The Loop had a presence. The Loop’s work forms part of the understanding that the the taboo around drugs, which is still big amongst politicians, leads to people lacking knowledge around substances and therefore not being able to use them responsibly.

The UK’s Charity Commission undertook a comprehensive legal review of its activities, and determined drug checking as a legal and charitable activity in the UK.

For the past 10 years, The Loop has been run as a not-for-profit by it’s founder and director, Professor Fiona Measham, chair in criminology at the University of Liverpool.

Mesham has become chair of the Board of Trustees, alongside Darren Knight, chief executive of the HIV charity George House Trust, and Jon Drape, director of festival production company Engine No. 4, founder of the “Festival Safe” campaign and patron of Attitude Is Everything. The Loop will advertise for new trustees at a future date, through charity trustee and specialist finance channels.

‘Drug Checking Is Just One Piece Of The Jigsaw’: Q’s With Professor of Criminology Fiona Measham

Sam de Neijs
Members of The Loop’s lab team testing samples using Fourier transform infrared (FTIR). (Picture by Sam de Neijs)

Porter commented, “It is an amazing time to join The Loop; all the continued energy and commitment of so many over the past 10 years has enabled us to get to this next stage in our development. The recognition and registration as a Charity, will mean that our health services and the important information we generate through drug checking will now reach more people in more places across the UK, and greatly assist in reducing drug-related harm. I am excited by the opportunity to lead such an innovative and important organisation as The Loop.”

Mesham added, “The Loop is very lucky to have the experience and skills of Katy to drive the next stage in our development, for what is now very much a full-time job. The Board is delighted to have appointed her.”

The Loop will “continue to expand its provision of drug checking and associated harm reduction services in nightlife and community hubs across the country as well as training in drugs awareness, harm reduction and managing issues in night time economy venues,” according to a press release.

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