By: Rachel Clark, DanceSafe Contractor
A round, light orange Oxy 30 tablet with “M” on one side and a score line with “30” above it on the other was sold in Portland, OR as oxycodone (30mg), and delivered a positive test for containing fentanyl. This means that when dissolved and exposed to a test strip, the strip produced only one red line instead of two.
Fentanyl is a highly deadly adulterant of many substances currently circulating in the U.S., particularly opioids. Black market Oxy 30s are among the most common carriers of fentanyl. Since fentanyl is an extremely powerful opioid, it mimics the effects of oxycodone, inducing sedation, pain relief, and depression of both respiration and heart rate. Fentanyl is active in microgram dosages – these are miniscule quantities! Because of this, even a tiny amount of fentanyl can cause life-threatening opioid overdose.
It is absolutely essential to test black market substances for the presence of fentanyl by dissolving the entire sample instead of just scraping a pill or using the residue of a baggie. This is due to the “chocolate chip cookie effect”, a phenomenon in which small amounts of various drugs can be unevenly distributed in pockets of a sample and therefore evade detection by testing. Properly diluting your sample is critical to avoid false positives or negatives. The water will evaporate back out over the course of a few days, making the sample ingestible in powdered form again.
Fentanyl overdoses have been responsible for thousands of deaths in recent years. Fentanyl is many times more powerful than heroin and other potent opioids. When using a substance that has not been tested for fentanyl, ensure that someone in the vicinity is sober and carrying Narcan in case of opioid overdose.
We urge our community to keep in mind that drug markets are expansive and that this adulterated oxycodone pill may appear in places other than its source and submission location. Using a reagent test kit can help provide a first line of defense as a presumptive (and not affirmative) process. Additionally, samples may be sent in to www.ecstasydata.org for in-depth laboratory testing. Test before you ingest to avoid taking misrepresented substances, and so you can adjust your intention, set, and setting appropriately to minimize risks. You can purchase your DanceSafe fentanyl strips here.
The purpose of #TestIt Alerts is to alert the public to misrepresented substances circulating in their region. We neither condemn nor condone drug use, but rather want people to be aware of what they are ingesting so they can take steps to minimize risks.
Since 1998, DanceSafe has been keeping the electronic music and nightlife communities safe. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, we provide free harm reduction services at music festivals and nightlife events across the nation. All proceeds from the sales of our drug checking kits go back into the organization so we can continue to provide our services to our communities for free. By purchasing a kit, you are not only helping keep you and your friends safe, you are also contributing to the harm reduction movement. Thank you for your support!