#TestIt Alert: Brown powder in capsule sold in San Gabriel, CA as MDMA but actually contains methamphetamine, MDA, ketamine, methylsulfonylmethane, and phenacetin

#TestIt Alert: Brown powder in capsule sold in San Gabriel, CA as MDMA but actually contains methamphetamine, MDA, ketamine, methylsulfonylmethane, and phenacetin

By: Rachel Clark, DanceSafe Contractor

A capsule full of black-brown and off-white speckled powder was sold in San Gabriel, CA as MDMA but actually contains methamphetamine, ketamine, MDA, methylsulfonylmethane, and phenacetin. The sample was submitted from Redondo Beach, CA. 

The sample turned orange to brown in the presence of the Marquis reagent, brown-green in the presence of the Mecke reagent, and purple-brown in the presence of the Mandelin reagent. 

Methamphetamine is a powerful stimulant with known neurotoxic properties, particularly concerning the function of dopamine neurons (responsible for reward, motivation, and motor control). Methamphetamine induces feelings of grandeur, increased sociability, decreased need for sleep, increased heart rate and blood pressure, and increased motor activity. Individuals with heart conditions or high blood pressure may be at risk for hypertensive crisis when using methamphetamine or other stimulants. Additionally, powerful stimulants are capable of prompting compulsive use; for these reasons, informed consent is particularly important when consuming a substance such as methamphetamine. 

Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic commonly used in human and veterinary medicine. At lower recreational doses, it induces feelings of lightness and sensations comparable to drunkenness; at higher doses, it can cause profound psychedelic experiences and temporary loss of motor control. Ketamine is typically snorted, rather than consumed orally. 

MDA is a compound with a similar effect profile to MDMA; however, MDA is often cited as being more physically stimulating, slightly less empathogenic, more psychedelic, and very slightly longer in duration. 

Methylsulfonylmethane is a dietary supplement. 

Phenacetin is a government-retracted analgesic (pain relief medication) that has been found to cause kidney disease and hypertension in chronic users. 

This combination of wildly different substances, each with highly unique properties and some with profoundly stimulating effects, will have unpredictable impacts on the consumer’s body and mind. It is likely that such a combination of empathogenic/entactogenic, stimulating, anesthetizing, dissociating, and psychedelic drugs would drastically sensitize sensory information and increase both heart rate and blood pressure. If ingesting a similar conflation of drugs, harm reduction measures include informing others of the contents of the sample and the location of consumption, checking pre-existing medical history to evaluate the risk of potentially dangerous increases in blood pressure and heart rate, and preparing a space with a sober tripsitter to minimize risk of accidental harm while altered.  

We urge our community to keep in mind that drug markets are expansive and that this adulterated MDMA capsule 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!

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