What is a reagent test?
Reagents are chemicals that can be used to detect the presence of a drug. They work by mixing a small amount of your drug with a droplet of the reagent and waiting for it to change colour. Different colors indicate the presence of different drugs- such as black or dark purple for MDMA.
Most drugs can be tested with reagents- including MDMA, LSD, 2C-B, methamphetamine, synthetic cathinones, cocaine and ketamine. They are relatively inexpensive, legal to buy and easy to use. You can buy them online from The Hemp Store and Cosmic Corner.
Why should I use a reagent?
Drugs sold on the illegal market in New Zealand can be adulterated- this means they are mixed with other drugs. Sometimes a drug is sold as one thing, but is actually a different drug altogether. Many of these adulterants can have dangerous and unpredictable effects. For example, this summer up to half of MDMA tested in drug checking was actually the synthetic cathinone, eutylone. Eutylone has different dosing, effects, and duration than MDMA, which means that taking it accidentally can lead to an unpleasant time.
While drug testing with a machine like FTIR is the best option, if you can’t access this, reagents are a good alternative to not testing at all.
A reddit user told a story about about not testing his MDMA because it was from a ‘friend-dealer’ and ending up accidentally taking methamphetamine, they said “I am lucky I was OK… but moral of the story- always, always reagent test your MDMA!”
What can’t a reagent test tell me?
Reagent tests can’t tell you purity or dose of your drug. They also won’t be able to tell you whether your drug is mixed with something else. Darker colored reactions override lighter ones- meaning that if there is some MDMA in your sample it will turn black or purple- even if it is mixed with another drug.
Despite the limitations, reagents are still a great alternative to not testing at all.
What reagent should I use?
There are different reagents for different drugs. Single-use reagent tests, like EZ Test tell you on the packet what drug they are for. Multi-use reagents like the ones from dancesafe have names like Marquis, Mandelin, Ehrlich, Simons and Folin. You can look at the dancesafe chart to see which reagents test which drugs. It is generally recommended that you use more than one reagent test to increase the accuracy of your result. Dancesafe has great information about this on their website.
After waiting a few minutes, you will see what colour your drug has turned, or if it has no reaction. The colour chart that comes with your reagent will tell you what drug is present.
Otago University researched ranked 23 drugs by they harm they cause to individuals and communities. Here's the results.
We talk to a psychotherapist about looking after your mental health during and after a psychedelic trip, and how to make sense of your experience.