Dana Larsen: Activist offers drug testing by mail

Send in your street drugs in to get them analyzed, free of charge

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      I have launched a new website to facilitate the analysis of street drugs, allowing all Canadians to find out what is in their supply. Anyone can mail my team a tiny sample of their drugs. We will run tests and email you the results.

      I have purchased a special machine called a Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectrometer which can identify drug samples and tell us the contents. The machine shines a laser beam at the sample and analyzes the reflected light spectrum to determine the chemical composition.

      This isn't for testing cannabis or other herbs. This method of testing is designed for powders, capsules, and liquids, and is used to determine the purity and presence of adulterants in drugs, including MDMA, LSD, ketamine, heroin, cocaine, and many others. We will also be using fentanyl test strips, which can detect trace quantities of the substance.

      At this point, no other service of this kind is available by mail in Canada. A few FTIR machines are currently in use throughout Vancouver and Victoria, sponsored by the provincial government, but are only available for limited hours at select overdose prevention sites. On-site drug analysis was also offered at the Shambhala music festival for the first time in 2018.

      While these services are a good start, reaching attendees at Shambhala and the local drug-using community at injection sites, I believe testing services should be available to all Canadians. That is why I am offering this service by mail through my digital platform: Get Your Drugs Tested. In a few weeks, I hope to open a fixed location, in Vancouver, where testing will be available seven days a week.

      I am offering the FTIR spectrometer tests free of charge, although I encourage a $5 donation per test to cover costs. All of our results will be posted online, so people can look at what is being sold locally and make educated decisions.

      It is technically illegal for me to offer this drug-testing service, but I don't care, nor do I expect to encounter any legal problems. This is a life-saving service and very necessary. Ideally, Canadians could buy a safe dosage of drugs in a legal manner, but since that isn’t the case, the next best thing is for individuals to get their substances tested. 

      To find out more or submit your street drugs for analysis, visit: www.GetYourDrugsTested.com.

      Dana Larsen is an author and activist for cannabis and drug policy reform. Click here to follow Dana on Twitter.

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