By: Rachel Clark, DanceSafe Intern
A white rectangular “bar” pill with three score lines, “XANAX” stamped into one side, and “2” stamped into the other was sold in the Bay Area, CA as Xanax (alprazolam) but actually contained an unidentified chemical, cyproheptadine, amantadine, chlorpheniramine, doxepin, etizolam, promethazine, and melatonin. The sample was sourced in Los Angeles, CA and sold in the Bay Area, CA.
The sample reacted orange to brown with the Marquis reagent, a very slight brown change with the Mecke reagent, and light brown with the Mandelin reagent.
Unidentified chemicals in samples are substances that are not currently listed in advanced testing databases. These chemicals could be anything, either psychoactive or nonpsychoactive. Because of this, it is impossible to know whether the unidentified chemical contained in this sample is toxic or dangerous.
The remainder of the sample is comprised of first-generation antihistamines (cyproheptadine, chlorpheniramine, and promethazine), a dopamine producer/flu medication (amantadine), a tricyclic antidepressant (doxepin), a benzodiazepine analog (etizolam), and a trace amount of melatonin.
Antihistamines are (typically) allergy and anti-inflammatory medications that can produce drowsiness/sedation, nausea, blurred vision, and other side effects. Benzodiazepine analogs such as etizolam can also cause extreme sedation; the combination of antihistamines and benzodiazepines may lead to dangerously slowed breathing and heart rate, as well as vomiting (a potentially fatal complication in a highly sedated individual). Both dopamine producers and tricyclic antidepressants may interact dangerously with a person’s existing health conditions and/or medications.
While the majority of these substances (with the exception of etizolam, which is used as a recreational designer drug, and the unidentified chemical, which comprises almost half of the sample) are non-recreational and prescribed by physicians, their use in conjunction with each other (and potentially in addition to a person’s existing diagnoses and medications) can cause medical emergencies such as life-threatening respiratory depression, vomit asphyxiation, and (depending on the amount of each substance and the total amount consumed) potentially antihistamine overdose.
We urge our community to keep in mind that drug markets are expansive and that this adulterated Xanax 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 test kit 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!