Submitted by admin on Mon, 01/03/2011 - 19:27.
Please pass word along to any k users you know, especially if anyone's picked up anything unsual during the new years rush and are still sitting on it.
We've just received some reports of something being sold as k that apparently contains a substance with very dangerous side-effects. A user who purchased off an unknown source was hospitalized with very serious symptoms, including bleeding out the sides of their eyes. They were taken to a hospital in the GTA and the doctor they spoke with told them that they had seen multiple cases of this specifically related to ketamine use.
This is an unheard-of side-effect for actual ketamine, so this suggests that someone has decided to try not only cutting but actually 'faking' the batch with another active substance. There are pharmaceuticals on the market which can produce these side-effects in overdose situations.
Be very, very cautious right now and only go through trusted sources if you're going to be trying to purchase k. Ketamine in the city is widely reported as being in short supply, so if you're not certain that you've got a solid connect, it is highly recommended that you don't put much, if any, into your body.
We've been told that snorting this k causes a sensation of a chemical burn and it was loosely described as "shardy", but those details are vague.
We're working on getting more information and will pass it along as it becomes available, but this is serious enough that we wanted to let you know immediately.
If you have any information, please contact us here or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Submitted by admin on Thu, 12/23/2010 - 22:30.
you so much for your support for the TRIP! Project over the years!
Initiated in 1995 by the community, for the community, the TRIP!
Project has been providing safer nightlife harm reduction services for
15 years now. We’ve been through thick and thin to support the dance
music community throughout the years, from the rave crackdown in the
early 2000s to the closing of the Big Bop. TRIP! continues to provide
harm reduction services to Toronto’s diverse dance music communities and
over the years has trained over 400 volunteers! These peer educators
have shared life saving skills with our community including overdose
prevention, counseling, and CPR. Our volunteers are also trained in
anti-oppression, ensuring our community continues to be a caring and
Toronto’s dance music scene continues to produce
groundbreaking events which have attracted people from all over the
world. For many years Toronto was one of the rave capitals in North
America and continues to provide cutting edge nightlife events as the
scene evolves. The Toronto rave scene was a catalyst for many businesses
creating a whole new cultural industry including print shops, design
firms, clothing companies, record stores, bars, clubs and lounges. Now
more than ever it’s important to give back to the scene that has made us
who we are today by supporting safer nightlife initiatives in the City
of Toronto. Give back this year to the TRIP! Project to support
community development and health promotion that is for and by party kids!
The New Year is full of good cheer, with FREE arts-based workshops lead
by industry leaders on MCing, DJing, Street Dance and Visual Arts will
be held at Queen West Community Health Centre for youth aged 16-24 on
Sundays! Stay tuned for more information through the TRIP! Facebook Fan
Page (facebook.com/tripproject ) and Twitter (twitter.com/tripproject ).
Give the gift of creativity by supporting these programs today. TRIP!
needs your help to continue to provide our free community services,
including nightlife outreach. Donate today to pay it forward to the
scene that has given so much to our city over the years. All donors
receive a charitable receipt from Central Toronto Community Health
Centres. To donate securely online please visit www.tripproject.ca and click on the Donate Now button.
Peace, Love, Unity, Respect and Responsibility.
Submitted by admin on Fri, 11/26/2010 - 23:17.
Check one, check two, check out our cool new vid about healthy lifestyle choices!!
We have submitted this video for the Toronto Public Health "How Healthy Can You Get?" video contest. Our harm reduction-friendly health advocacy campaign encourages shows that harm reduction doesn't just stop @ drug use and sexual health education. Harm reduction can be anything from safer injection sites, methadone clinics, recovery facilities, needle, pipe, straw and condom distribution, community engagement, activism and grassroots education to seatbelts, helmets, "If You Drink Don't Drive" campaigns and other methods of promoting healthy lifestyle choices.
Peace and One Love <3
Submitted by admin on Thu, 11/18/2010 - 02:28.
Over the last year TRIP! has been working closely with the Canadian Harm Reduction Network and The Works to create an integrated media campaign on Levamisole-laced cocaine and crack. Levamisole is an animal dewormer that's showing up in blow around the world, as it's cut at the source. It can destroy your immune system, so if you're repeatedly or rapidly getting sick, have weird skin infections or blackened skin--- don't be afraid to talk to your doctor! For you to get proper treatment they need to know to screen for Levamisole. Direct them to this website even so they can read more about it. It is important as drug users that we advocate for proper treatment and challenge stigma. Of course this isn't a reality for everyone, but if you're sick you need to get help as there have been a few related deaths from crashed immune systems (aka agranulocytosis)
Finally, our website has reached alpha and we've launched the campaign and gotten media attention from across Canada and beyond. After talking with doctors, frontline workers, social workers, nurses, health researchers and (OF COURSE) drug users across the world, we are pleased at the success of the campaign! We will be presenting the results of our work at the National Harm Reduction Conference in Austin, Texas on how we used social media as a tool in harm reduction. After numerous media interviews, tweets and Facebook updates, the buzz around Levamisole is finally starting to spread! Check out the website and spread the word! We're looking forward to check out Dance Safe's new Levamisole testing kits at the conference!! Don't forget to like us on Facebook and follow our tweets!
Submitted by admin on Fri, 11/12/2010 - 18:30.
my friend, my enemy, my ally, my antagonist, then my best friend again. It
seems as though I can't make up my mind- I want to have a crazy drunken night
out in town with my friends, or I want to swear off the liquor and never walk
into a bar again. It's confusing, and annoying, and a question that has long
been on my mind: to drink or not to drink?
Although seemingly friendly, alcohol can
have serious effects on one's physical and mental health. It is important to
know that regardless of a drugs legality or social acceptability, it does not
make it entirely safe. Alcohol is one of the only drug from which you can die from
withdrawal. Yet alcohol is widely advertised and a booming industry.
There was a time in my life, well very
recently in my life, where the answer to “another drink?” was a always yes. I
never bothered to measure or take note of how much I was drinking, and by the
time I should really start being conscious of how much I was drinking, I was
unable to do so because of how much I had drank. At first, I didn't mind being
critically hung over four out of seven days a week. University was easy enough
and working at a call center allowed me to be perform half as well as I could.
Some of the worst things that have ever happened to me happened to me while I
was drunk while finding myself in
the company of someone I trusted who ended up taking advantage of me.
It's hard to forget.
But forgetting is not the answer and safer
alcohol consumption is. We're never too old or too experienced to be reminded
of some basic safety tips that we
should keep in mind while drinking.
If you are going to drink
in a public place, make sure you are with at least one person you know
Keep an eye on each other. The Buddy System is an old system but a
in a safe environment. If you start to feel uncomfortable, you may want to
leave or notify someone you are.
with caution: set your own limits BEFORE you start drinking! When you get
to a party, start with a non-alcohol beverage perhaps to quench your thirst
Know your limit and don't be afraid to
stick to it. What's hardest sometimes is slowly changing parts of your
life that were once positive once they stop being positive for you.
If you would like to cut down or stop all together, first start by writing down
your reasons why. This way you'll be able to pin point the key issue.
Most importantly, don't be afraid to be who
you are. You're health and happiness are the most important things. You will
find that when you keep moderation in mind you will be able to enjoy alcohol in
a new way.
Submitted by admin on Wed, 11/10/2010 - 15:27.
Once upon a time, a significant amount of the ketamine sold on the
black market in Toronto was veterinary K that had been redirected from
the controlled legitimate medical market. In recent years, however, K
demand has consistently outpaced supply, resulting in
irregularly-produced K coming to market and increasingly showing up at
street level in heavily-cut batches.
Street / party K is now often cut multiple times in different ways by different people as it journeys down to end-users.
This article is about how to spot cut K, how to identify common cuts,
and how to attempt to remove as much cut as possible in order to be
able to have a better understanding of and control over what you're
putting into your body.
"Veterinary" ketamine that has been crystallized (dried) from liquid
will typically solidify as long crystal shards (which can vary in
length/girth), ranging from entirely-intact shards to smashed and broken
pieces depending on how much they've been handled and whether they're
from the top or bottom of your source's bag.
Typically, most uncut crystalline K "should" look like this (but often no longer does - see below):
Nowadays in Toronto, conventional shards are scarce in many circles,
and "pebbles", "cubes" (some small like table salt, some larger like
bath salts), and even massive single-piece chunks are commonly
encountered at street and party level.
These differences are due to variations in how batches are
synthesized and crystallized, and may sometimes be due to cuts that are
added to liquid K before it is crystallized ("rerocking"), but for the
purposes of this article any and all of these different types are simply
going to be considered "K".
This article is about the extra stuff you may get sold in your baggie
that is 100% _not_ K, the unwanted bulking cuts that can be added by
any person who gets their hands on the K between the producer and the
When a cut is selected, it is generally chosen to visually match the
type of K in terms of shape and is almost always smaller than the
ketamine crystals as being larger would call attention to the cut as a
primary component of the batch. Heavier cuts are preferred when a scale
is being used to weigh the drug, while lighter ("fluffier") cuts are
preferred when the desired result is to fill up a container like a vial
or a bag.
More towards the bottom we will discuss specific methods for
attempting to separate out cuts, but first let's take a look at some
common cuts that you may encounter:
Specific common cut details:
MSM or Methylsulfonylmethane is possibly the most common cut
found in street K in Toronto at the moment. It's sold as a supplement
for the treatment and prevention of arthritis. Given this, it may be
one of the better adulterants as far as impact on your body goes,
however Health Canada obviously hasn't been expecting people to be
snorting or injecting the stuff when they approve it for retail.
MSM's appearance is sharp-edged, small crystal fragments, a little like
partially-formed snowflakes or tiny bits of diamond/glass. (The inset
in the above photo is magnified to show detail.) MSM is usually heavier
than the K in a batch, and its weight and small size cause it to sift to
the bottom of bags.
Unlike K, which crushes to a soft powder, MSM crystals are resistant to
crushing and just crush down into smaller crystal fragments. This is
helpful in identifying it, but this also makes it particularly prone to
irritating sinus passageways.
If you taste-test MSM, you'll primarily notice a cooling sensation on the tongue, backed by a lighter "earthy" soil-like taste.
MSM is one of the easiest cuts to remove using the basic separation techniques described further down.
MSG or Monosodium glutamate shares more resemblance to ketamine
shards than almost any other substance. The crystals form almost
identically to shardy K, and even a trained eye may have difficulty
differentiating the two, even side-by-side.
MSG is generally only encountered as a cut when the K itself is in this
conventional shardy form, and so obviously it hasn't been very common
MSG comes in a range of sizes:
One way to visually differentiate MSG from K is the "dual-shard"
formation that commonly shows up in MSG (the appearance of two shards
"stuck together"), while this is uncommon for ketamine shards.
However, this dual-shard formation is not always going to be present
with MSG depending on how it has been manufactured and sorted:
Shardy K cut with MSG can be very difficult to separate using the
methods described below, but it is still extremely easy to identify the
batch as cut with MSG because of the powerful "Chinese food" taste.
If your drip tastes like wonton noodle soup broth when it goes down the back of your throat, you're dealing with MSG.
Table salt and/or sugar both come in a range of sizes and shapes,
but are essentially small-sized cubes. Sugar is usually finer and
lighter, while salt is heavier but larger - in both cases, they're
likely to sift to the bottom of a bag. Both are obviously very easy to
notice with a taste-test, even if you're tasting the different parts of
the mixture at once.
These cuts are most common when the person doing the cutting is rushing,
lazy, careless or inexperienced. If your dealer really needs to go by
the McDonald's condiment counter and then hit the bathroom stall on
their own before they'll sort you out, you should immediately be
checking for this kind of cut.
Salt in particular is irritating to the nose and throat, and salt
interferes with absorption of the active drug itself by dehydrating your
cells, weakening the effects even beyond how much it's diluting the
bag. If you're consistently finding yourself stuck with something like
this, it's a good sign that you need to rethink your supplier because
they're clearly not even bothering to work hard on screwing you around
and obviously haven't got your best interests at heart.
Luckily, like MSM, the shape and weight differences between these cuts
and most types of K makes them fairly easy to separate as well.
This image is, of course, a close-up, but you should notice the range of
sizes present even though this is all the same type of salt. You may
see batches that have obviously salt-sized/shaped crystals, but then
additional smaller ones that don't match - they can still be the same
thing (though they could be a second cut.)
Coarse sea salt and/or epsom (bath) salts are generally uncommon
as their use requires that the K be rather large. Sea salt chunks are
rougher and rounder while epsom salts are very much cubes. K the size
and shape of epsom salts has been increasingly common lately, so you may
encounter this. These are naturally clear-white but could also be
While easy to identify if you remove an individual salt crystal and
taste it (or do a burn test - salt does not combust at all and will
remain regardless of what the other components change into), if
epsom-sized cube-shaped K is cut with epsom salts, there may be no
simple way to separate the two.
Unidentified fine powders could be anything, from crushed
vitamins to random medication to talcum powder to flour to, well, yeah,
anything. You're best off refusing anything that comes looking like
this, because there's no really good way of telling what you're dealing
with and whether it might be dangerous before you do it (although the
water dissolution and burn tests described below can give you some
clues, and a taste-test may help you decide if the powder is actually
just crushed K.)
Nonetheless, if you're dealing with a bag of K crystals mixed with
fine powder, the physical separation technique described below should be
able to do a fairly good job of separating the two.
Talcum powder is worth a special mention. It's extremely uncommon to
find as a cut, but it can happen. It'll be obvious to anyone doing a
bump when they're hit with that "baby powder" smell, and if you happen
to encounter this you should stop using that batch right away -
inhalation of talc in this form can cause specific types of lung
disease... and again, this is a lazy/sloppy cut that indicates a
completely reckless attitude on the part of the person doing it, a
definite warning sign that you should avoid anything coming from that
Steps for assessing & separating a batch:
- Initial visual examination
- Initial taste examination
- Weight and/or physical separation into differently-appearing components
- Separate component taste-testing
1. Initial visual examination: Take a look at the mixed batch.
Good lighting will help, a back-light may help (such as a cell phone),
and if you have the chance actually dumping the whole thing out onto a
clean surface will definitely let you get a better idea of what you're
dealing with. You should be examining it to see how uniformly
consistent the component pieces are - if they're all basically the same
size and shape, you may be dealing with a fairly clean batch. If more
than one type of thing is present, the odds are very low that it's a
mixture of different types of K. In particular note whether all the
components are crystalline or whether any are powder, and check whether
any parts seem heavier than others as they move around in a bag or
container by seeing whether they seem to fall faster than the rest.
2. Initial taste examination: Get a dab on your pinky finger
and put it to the tip of your tongue. Odds are this won't be the best
experience you ever have, but it can tell you a lot that your eyes just
can't. Ketamine variants can have slightly differing tastes, but the
basic K taste is pretty much the same as getting hairspray in your mouth
- a distinct semi-sour/semi-chemically/semi-metallic blend of flavour
that will trigger most living beings' repulsion reflex. Salt will taste
like salt, sugar like sugar, MSG like generic Chinese soup broth. MSM
has the taste of soil, but the taste isn't dominant with MSM, instead
what you're looking for is the cold sensation that is produced as it
melts on your tongue. You may taste a mix and only taste the strong K
element, but if you pay attention you might simultaneously feel this
cooling sensation and realize that it's been mixed with MSM.
3. Weight and/or physical separation into differently-appearing components:
Of these two methods, physical separation is simpler and quicker but
weight separation can be used in more cases and requires less special
tools to improvise.
Physical separation simply refers to separating the components
based on differences in their physical size and shape. This is most
easily done with a fine metal strainer (sieve), the type of which can be
picked up cheaply at any kitchen supply store, dollar store or even
many convenience stores. It requires that you're either trying to keep
the smallest or the largest parts of the mixture, but the procedure is
simply that you dump the mix into the strainer and tap the side
repeatedly until everything that will fall through has. Ta-da, MSM
underneath on the bottom, large K cubes still on top in the strainer!
(or whatever the case may be).
Weight separation is done by relying more on the differences
in the weight of the components than on their size or shape. It can
therefore be used in cases where the cut and K may be virtually
identical in appearance, and can even work to some extent sorting MSG
from shardy K.
To perform a basic weight separation, you'll need a surface you can pick
up that's at least the size of a CD jewelcase (in fact, I recommend you
use a CD jewelcase because it's likely available and its hollow
structure lets you tap it more effectively). Hold the jewelcase over a
table, flyer, etc to catch spill-off. Dump a pile of your mixture in
the middle (horizontally) of the case near the far side from you, then
pick up that far side so the case surface slopes down towards you, with
the far side 1 to 2 inches up.
Now tap the side of the jewelcase over and over, just enough to cause
the vibrations to shake the pile. You'll start to see the different
parts of the mixture sliding apart and down towards you, and you should
see that certain parts are falling faster than others. If everything is
falling quickly, you're holding it at too high of an angle. Tapping is
also best done with a solid object like a pen, marker or fingernail
rather than a soft fingertip.
If you put out a large pile, you may need to use a card to pull off what
has separated out and then rebuild the pile at the top of the case and
start again, repeating this until you've gotten a satisfactory amount of
cut separated from K.
4. Separate component taste-testing: Now that you've turned
your one pile into two piles, you might want to try a small taste of
what you suspect to be the cut on its own in order to confirm your
suspicions of it. Then take the cut, bag it up and give it back to your
dealer - let them know that you're not a sucker and you expect honesty,
quality and respect or you'll be going elsewhere.
Burn-testing: Many dealers will use this themselves to assess
purity of new batches. You can burn-test a mixture or separate
components. To do this, take a scrap of aluminum foil, place a very
small amount on it (like the size a grain of rice or two) and then heat
the underside with a lighter. Don't inhale the fumes - everything from
the foil to the cut to the K itself will be giving off something toxic,
and ketamine isn't really a smokeable drug anyway.
What will happen is the substance(s) will sizzle, melt and then burn
off. Pure K will leave you with an deep inky red stain, while most
other things will burn black or some other colour. Salt will not burn
at all since it is not a hydrocarbon, so if at the end you see a spot of
the desired red colour with some cubes still sitting in the middle of
it, you're dealing with a salt cut. Take note though, sugar will
produce almost the same colour as K when burned like this!
Water-dissolution testing: Most people who snort K would never
think to do this, but everyone who injects it will naturally go through
this step. Anyone can do it with a cooker even if they have no
intention whatsoever of injecting the result, and cookers are available
without needles from outreach centres like the Queen West Health Centre (Bathurst & Queen) and The Works.
You put an amount of your mixture into the cooker, add water and heat it
from below with a lighter. The heat is necessary as K itself is not
perfectly soluble in cold water. What you should be watching for first
of all is whether any fizzing occurs when you first mix with the water,
or whether any components of the mix float to the surface. Then, after
heating, check to see if anything proves to be non-water-soluble and
remains a solid. Any of these things are warning signs that an uncommon
and potentially harmful cut could be present and you should think about
avoiding using this batch entirely.
Further discussions on less common cuts and more complex ways of purifying ketamine can be found at Bluelight.
Submitted by admin on Mon, 11/08/2010 - 23:15.
This is from U.S. info, but it's a bunch of neat graphs on how youth are having sex!
View image at original size: http://awesome.good.is/transparency/web/1010/sheets/flat.html
Some interesting points:
*14-24 year olds are the most likely to use condoms ~40-70% (vs. the ~5-25% of adults age 25-70+ that use condoms).
*14-24 year olds are about as likley to use a condom with relationship partners as casual partners.
*Girls under 15 years old are the most likely to have had more than
4 partners in the last year. (vs. girls & boys <15-19 years
*People who use a condom the first time are more likely to use them in the future.
Submitted by admin on Fri, 10/22/2010 - 16:45.
The TRIP! Project is looking for submissions from youth ages 16-24 on tobacco and harm reduction for our new community zine. Tobacco is a commonly used substance in our community, with 86% of youth having tried it. Smoking is a party drug as much as alcohol, MDMA and Ketamine! Some people are social smokers on the weekend, where others smoke up to a pack a day or more. Sometimes smoking starts off as recreational and turns into a habit. Often youth end up smoking tobacco without even thinking about the chemicals they’re inhaling! Poppers are becoming an emerging trend, and contraband tobacco means that getting smokes is as easy as walking through the club district.
We welcome submissions on these topics and more! Submissions for the zine can come in a variety of formats, from photographs to art to poems and articles. All autours of published articles receive a $20 honorarium for their submissions. Please keep each submission between 500-750 words for articles.
Submissions can be emailed to email@example.com or dropped off at Queen West Community Health Centre 168 Bathurst street between 9am-4pm Mon, Wed, Thurs, Fri, and between 1:30pm-4pm on Tuesdays. If these hours don’t work for you, you can always email us or give us a call at (416) 703-8482 ext. 125!
Please hand in your submissions by October 25th 2010.
Anti-oppression + Smoking: Biases towards smokers!
Aboriginal Tobacco / Sacred Tobacco
Drugs + Tobacco
Smoking + Advertising / Media Influences
Quitting Smoking: Tips & Tricks
Personal Smoking Stories
Different Types of Cigarettes: light vs. regular
<Insert your topic here!>
Submitted by admin on Wed, 09/08/2010 - 20:03.
There have been recent reports of
ketamine injection amongst youth in Toronto. This type of drug use has become a
common occurrence within various downtown parks especially. It is important to
remember that these spaces are public domain and shared with the larger community.
If you’re shooting in a park, be aware of those around you and those who will
be using the park afterwards. If you go into a k-hole right away you might not
have time to properly dispose of your works, and find yourself knocked out
before you know what hit you. It’s important to have a trusted friend as a trip
sitter if you’re shooting to make sure that this doesn’t happen!
Currently Toronto has no safe
injection sites, but if you decide to shoot up it’s important to do it in a
safe space where you are aware of your surroundings. Injecting in a crowded venue poses a risk if
you fall into other people, objects, chairs, etc. and you could fall into a
k-hole before disposing of your needle. A safe space means you have time
and light to take your shot. Injecting
in a space with good light lets you see your veins or muscles. Decent light
will save you time. Sometimes injecting outside or in public spaces means
rushing and that can turn into high risk injecting practices that can lead to
infections, losing your shot, getting busted, etc. Sometimes we don’t have a
safe place to use but there are ways to reduce the harm to you and your
Used syringes and gear littering a
park not only pose a health hazard but can bring in a lot of scrutiny like
cops, neighbourhood watch, media, etc. and risk losing permits, venues, and licenses. Promoters,
planners and people like TRIP! Outreach workers work hard to create safe party
and events for youth to party/hangout. We currently have a real lack of safe
and friendly all ages party spaces and events here in Toronto, so let’s keep
what we have going by looking out for ourselves and each other.
Improperly disposed of used
syringes can poke other people even if you put them in the garbage can and
recap them. The caps can come off and poke maintenance workers or somebody just
looking for some empties. Use a bio-hazardous waste receptacle. Just because a
needle is capped does not mean that you can put it in the trashcan, as the cap
can always come off! There are a variety of places in the downtown core where
you can pick up portable syringe disposal containers that are discreet, as well
as free unused needles and injection supplies.
TRIP! is located at Queen West
Community Health Centre at 168 Bathurst Street,
just south of Queen across from the old Big Bop. The health centre is open daily Monday,
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, from 9-4pm, and on Tuesdays from 1:30-4pm. Come to the front desk to enquire with our
friendly staff about our harm reduction services! If you’re too shy to talk to
one of our workers, you can even dispose of your used needles in the bathroom
in biohazard containers. If you’re not
in the downtown core, check out The Works , a city-wide needle exchange program
funded by Toronto Public Health. The
Works cares so much about you not sharing needles that they’ll deliver sterilized
injection suppliesright to your door if you call them! Using
new, injection equipment and not sharing can prevent the spread of Hepatitis C,
HIV, and other blood borne infections.
For info on Ketamine click here!
Look after yourself, look after each other, be safe and RESPONSIBLE!
Submitted by admin on Tue, 08/31/2010 - 15:24.
Spotting an overdose in a party situation can be a toughie, taking into consideration the crowded venue, flashing lights or dimly lit spaces. Overdoses can be especially hard to spot if you're drunk or high, or simply aren't sure what to be looking out for. The following information is meant to be a guide in helping you make sensible decisions if an overdose situation occurs. Arming yourself with knowledge is the first step in keeping you and your friends safer while partying and/or using drugs. Who knows, maybe you could save a life!
An overdose is what happens when you take more drugs than your body can handle.
Overdoses can be caused by:
- Mixing drugs (uppers & uppers, uppers & downers, or downers & downers). When mixing more than one drug synergy occurs which means the two or more substances have a chemical reaction between each other and can have unpredictable effects. Be very careful when dosing yourself if you choose to mix.
- Taking too much of a drug or drugs at once.
- Your risk of OD'ing also depends on the potency and purity of all the drugs involved.
CAUTION: There is no way to regulate or control the quality, or purity (and hence potency) of street drugs, so you can never really know what your getting. The impurities found in street drugs are often more harmful than the drug itself and are thought to be the cause of overdose in some instances.
Here's how it works at street level: After the drug has been manufactured (usually by underground chemists), it gets passed through a number of hands (usually the dealers) and undergoes an number of cuts with other substances to stretch the supply meaning filler, additives, and more filler. Sometimes these fillers are other drugs altogether, other times neutral substances, and other times junk that comes from under the kitchen sink (i.e. cleaning agents, pool chemicals etc.). Drug testing kits and safer injection sites in various parts of the worls have been shown to greatly reduce the risk of overdose, HIV transmission, and other drug-related harms amongst users. Unfortunately there are currently no measures in place in Toronto to regulate or control the purity of street level drugs.
Things to look out for:
Someone who is overdosing on uppers (i.e. extasy, speed, crystal, coke) may look red in the face, be hot to touch, may complain about chest pain, tightness or shortness of breath, and may seizure or suddenly collapse and become uncunsious.
Someone who is overdosing on downers (i.e. GHB or heroin) may look very pale, have blue lips, complain of shortness of breath, vomit or foam at the mouth, be shaking or having a seizure, their eyes may roll back into their head, or they may suddenly collapse and become unconsious.
Often times, people who are overdosing on a few different substances will show both downer and upper overdose signs. It's not always as cut and dry as it may appear in the signs listed above. Be your own judge and listen to your intuition. If someone looks really UNWELL, get them some help. Waiting for the person to 'just get over it' or to 'come around' could often mean the difference between life and death!
If someone is overdosing, act quickly!
You have about 4 minutes from the time their lips turn blue till they lapse into a coma. Get someone nearby who is willing and able to call 911 or get paramedics onsite. Be sure to have them report back to you and confirm that they have called.
- While someone gets help, keep the person as alert as possible.
- Check to see if they can open their eyes or speak to you.
- Squeeze their hand.
- Talk to them.
- Check the immediate surroundings for rigs (needles), spoons, vials, baggies etc. This may help you determine what the person has overdosed on, and this info can then be relayed to paramedics when they arrive.
Never try to "counteract the overdose" by giving the person more drugs. This will only lead to further complications.
If they've passed out...
Check their pulse and breathing
Can you feel their breath on your hand?
Is their chest moving up and down?
Put the person in recovery position so they don't choke on vomit. If they are conscious sit them up, if they are unconcsious try lay them down on their side. The idea is to clear the airway and let the fluid come out of the mouth. If you or anyone around knows CPR or rescue breathing, GET TO IT immediately while help is on the way.