Pill to be tested (L) and drug checking kit results color key (R). newyorkdancesafe.org
Drug checking, also known as drug testing, pill testing or adulterant screening, is a way to determine if a substance is what it’s reported to be.
The drug market has exploded in the past ten or so years with hundreds of novel psychoactive substances (NPS), often known in the U.S. as “synthetic drugs.” Although many of these NPS are meant to imitate “classic” drugs like marijuana, opiates, MDMA and other psychedelics, their effects are often quite different and occasionally quite dangerous or even lethal. And because less is known about these substances and new ones come along all the time, this makes any kind of drug use riskier.
Simply put, drug checking is the best tool we have that may prevent people from taking something unknown and potentially save their lives.
In the U.S. people may be most familiar with drug checking the way DanceSafe or Bunk Police does it: via the use of liquid chemical reagents that change color depending on the drug present in a substance. They test directly for the person who may be taking a drug, and provide nearly instant results.
But that’s only one way to do it – the best and most accurate way is through use of a GC/MS machine, which can not only confirm the substance, but also list all adulterants and their levels.
More festivals, clubs and shows should be considering how to start doing some form of drug checking.
In the meantime, be sure you check EcstasyData.org for GC/MS test results on a range of substances submitted from within the U.S. – and make sure others know about this resource as well.