Ready to #TestIt?
- DanceSafe is sometimes able to offer free on-site drug checking at events. This is dependent on getting consent from the promoter and the venue owner. 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, or more advanced lab technology.
- 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, but they can give you information about whether it contains what you want.
- It’s important to read our instructions fully before using at-home drug checking materials. It may be mad science, but it’s still science! (Instructions are included as PDFs on every shop page.)
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, though 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, 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) that your sample contains.
Drug Checking FAQ
There are multiple different technologies available to test 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.
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. You can read all about this on our instructional pamphlet, and you can buy reagents here.
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) 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. You can read more about our fentanyl test strips on our instructional pamphlet, and you can buy test strips here.
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.
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 so that you understand the risks of possession, use, and/or distribution of drug checking materials. You can view the drug checking laws in your state (in the United States) here. More information about shipping and policies is available here.
#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. You can see all #TestIt Alerts here.
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?) You can find out more about the #TestIt Advocacy program here.
Send a Sample
DrugsData is the independent laboratory drug analysis program of Erowid Center. Launched in July 2001, its purpose is to collect, manage, review, and present laboratory drug analysis results. The information is made publicly available to help harm-reduction efforts, medical personnel, and researchers. While some government agencies analyze psychoactive drugs, they choose to restrict the data they collect and make it private to law enforcement interests.
DrugsData collects lab testing results from a variety of organizations, but primarily commissions its own tests conducted by Drug Detection Labs (DDL). All samples are submitted to DrugsData anonymously by mail. We do not accept samples submitted in person. We also help other analysis projects to publish and manage their testing data.
Are drug checking tools legal in your state?
Drug checking materials are increasingly popular 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.