Ready to #TestIt?
- DanceSafe is sometimes able to offer free on-site drug checking at events, with consent from the promoter. Neither DanceSafe volunteers nor service users have ever been arrested for providing or using drug checking services at events.
- Some organizations in the United States provide underground in-person drug checking services in facilities. These services may utilize at-home test kits and strips (like the ones we sell), or more advanced technology like FTIR (like the machines we bring to events when we’re able). To our knowledge, there are no in-person facilities in America where you can obtain proper confirmatory testing with lab equipment like GC/MS, although there are mail-in services like DrugsData.
- In countries like Canada, there are buildings where anyone can walk in and legally get their drugs tested by lab equipment.
- The most common drug checking method is purchasing materials to use at home, like reagent kits and test strips.
- These tools can’t tell you the purity or potency of your substance. Test strips can tell you whether a specific drug is present at all, while reagents cast a broader net and can indicate when something about your sample is not reacting as expected.
- It’s important to read our instructions fully before using at-home drug checking materials. It may be drug science, but it’s still science! (Physical copies of instructions are included with every purchase and are also available digitally on the product pages in our shop.)
By a Lab
- DanceSafe started the first-ever lab testing service, EcstasyData, in 1999. EcstasyData is now called DrugsData and is run by the Erowid Project. Anyone can mail in a sample of their substance (for a fee) to get a full lab report on it.
- There are no other publicly accessible drug checking labs in the United States, although you can send a sample overseas to Energy Control in Spain.
- Lab testing is by far the most accurate method of determining what’s in your drugs, and is the only way of actually confirming what they contain, but U.S. restrictions prevent DrugsData from telling you 1) the specific quantities of substances in your sample and 2) any inactive ingredients (like baking soda) it contains.
Drug Checking FAQ
There are multiple different technologies available to check drugs, but only a few of them don’t require advanced equipment. The two most common and effective at-home drug checking tools are reagents and test strips. Reagents and test strips can help you identify the presence of certain substances, but they can’t tell you how pure or potent your drugs are. This is very useful for seeing whether 1) something you’re looking for is present in your sample at all, or 2) something you don’t want to take is present in your sample.
Beware of any company that over-promises on what its drug checking materials can deliver. No at-home drug checking materials are sensitive enough to test for purity or confirm specific information about your drugs, including identifying multiple adulterants, inactive cuts, or potency.
Reagent testing, also known as “colorimetric” testing, involves dropping chemicals onto samples of your drug and observing a color change. Each reagent is a specific liquid chemical that reacts with a certain set of drugs. Since some drugs turn the same color with the same reagent (like MDMA and MDA, which both turn black with Marquis reagent), you’ll almost always need to use more than one to tell different drugs apart.
Reagents cannot test for fentanyl. Fentanyl strips are required due to the sensitivity of the test.
Strip testing, also known as “immunoassay” testing, involves 1) diluting your drugs in a certain amount of water and 2) dipping a test strip into the mixture to get a positive or negative result for the presence of a particular drug. This test is very useful for determining if one specific drug (like fentanyl and its analogs) is in your sample.
Test strips are actually repurposed urine strips that are used in drug tests. Since they are very sensitive, it is extremely important to use the correct ratio of water to substance to avoid getting a false positive or negative.
Organic material (like plant matter) is difficult, if not impossible, to test with at-home tools. While there are sometimes methods available for testing certain organic materials for certain compounds, they tend to be complicated and only advisable in very specific situations.
Be aware that many cannabis-related products sold in head shops and smoke shops may have poor quality control, and sometimes contain pesticides, heavy metals, or no actual cannabinoids at all. Buy from licensed dispensaries when possible and always look for quality control information on packaging that’s bought from any other source.
Note: Testing magic mushrooms isn’t useful, but you should examine the shrooms to make sure they’re not a different (potentially poisonous) species altogether. Websites like the Shroomery can help with identification.
Laws around drug checking materials vary from state to state and country to country. We ship to all 50 states and most countries, but it’s important to be aware of the paraphernalia laws in your region in order to understand the risks of possession, use, and/or distribution of drug checking materials.
#TestIt is an awareness program that highlights the importance of drug checking and illuminates illicit drug market trends across the U.S. #TestIt alerts are periodically released about adulterated drugs, serving as an early warning system for novel substances OR a caution about a high-risk regional trend.
The #TestIt Advocacy program is an initiative to train peer educators in the practice of advocating for legal drug checking in every state. This program is in its early stages, but will ultimately include webinars, resources, and trainings to fuel the push towards accessible and risk-free drug checking for everyone. (Did you know that possessing fentanyl test strips is a felony in Arkansas?)
More info coming soon!
Are drug checking tools legal in your state?
Drug checking materials are life-saving harm reduction tools, but many states classify them as drug paraphernalia. These laws may apply to the possession, distribution, and/or use of reagents and fentanyl test strips.
Use our guide to determine the legality of drug checking tools in your state.