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Drug Induced Psychosis: A Personal Story

Drgu Induced PsychosisI want to start at the very beginning of my story: I have always had an addictive personality and addiction runs in my family. In Grade 9 it was drinking, Grade 10 came weed, cigarettes, ecstasy, mushrooms, cocaine, ketamine. Grade 11 came nitrous, acid and then there was M3 (mixture of meth, coke, and k). I wanted everything but I never knew when to cut myself off. I would steal and lie just to get what I needed to get high. We had a support group of about 14 of us, we would constantly want to get high, find new links for each other and make each other all feel relatively normal. Most of us were functioning in our daily life, saving the drug use until the weekend, while others were already starting to slip mentally and going on binges. It’s a scary moment for anyone when you realize one of your best friends doesn’t think they’re living on the same planet anymore. I was that friend. A few of the people in my group would sometimes have little mental break downs or show signs of not being stable, but I was constantly not okay. I now know what happened to me was a mixture of all the drugs I had been doing leading up to the disastrous point that put all my brain chemical levels out of whack. It may be hard to believe but it’s not so hard to get lost into believing that what you see and hear is real no matter how extreme it may be.

When the hallucinations started I was sitting in the usual apartment where I normally did all my drugs at, watching TV. It was around 4 am... Earlier that night I went to a rave, did some ecstasy, but felt relatively sober. All of sudden, the subtitles at the bottom of the TV started speaking to me, saying the world was going to end and specifically saying my name. At that moment, three of the people I was with decided to go to the store, leaving just one guy sitting on the couch with me who I barley knew and my other friend sleeping in the chair. Next thing I know the TV is telling me I have ten seconds to save the world by having sex with this guy next to me to prove my dedication to God or else the world would explode and we would all die. (I was also an atheist by the way). You think that’s fucked up? Well get this, I drag the guy into the bedroom, we have sex and I think he is aware of everything too because he was reading the TV just like me.  After that, I just sat back down kept reading the TV because I knew this godly controlling power had better thank me for what I had done. Next thing I knew it started telling me to go to sleep, and when I wake up I will be in a better place. So I go lay down on the bed, close my eyes and start holding my breath. At this point my head is spinning, I can’t believe whats going on, I just saved the world and I’m going to wake up in paradise.  So now I’m basically lying down trying to commit suicide, just by holding my breath as long as possible. There were points where I thought I could literally feel my body floating away from the bed. All of a sudden I'm like, “Wait I can’t die here I want to die in my own home.” So I go home with my friend and cry in bed all night thinking I’m getting signs sent from God from everywhere. I even lit candles for my parents to find me in the morning.

Finally, I fall asleep. When I wake up I feel like I’m in a new dimension where everything’s the same but I’m this prodigy and the TVs are talking about me, and all the lights are the worlds cameras into my life. They exist to prove I am real and I saved the world, I would read books and it would be God sending me messages. I would talk to my friends in riddles because I thought I couldn’t seriously tell them what happened, just hint at it or I would get in trouble. I thought everyone was constantly watching me on YouTube so I wouldn’t eat so I wouldn’t have to barely ever go to the bathroom. I would yell at people on the streets because they would glance at me. Even though I was really abrasive, no one around me really even started asking me why I was acting like this for almost a month. I even had a job at the time working for my cousin. I tried to be nice and polite but I still thought everything was revolving around me so every sentence I heard was something twisted having to do with me. I’d think shadows were real, hear noises and think they were spirits. Eventually my closest friends would be crying in front of me but I just couldn’t understand why. My cousin who I was working for finally managed to bring me to the hospital. I thought I was there so they could run tests and the world would know I was real. They forced me up to their mental health ward and put me in a room. At this point I was 5’2 and 92 pounds and I totally thought I had changed the world for the better.  This was the end, I would be queen of this world with this guy (who I thought was the devil) who would be king and my best friend was Jesus-- that’s how everything had come to be. So I get out of the hospital, another month passes by, even after all the medication they were giving I was still psychotic. By this time I realized I’d have to pretend to agree with everyone or else I’ll have to be in the hospital.

The first day back at school this random girl is talking about how the babies are dying in some country and my whole brain snaps back. I don’t know if the medication just decided to kick in or what it was about that moment, but I finally realized everything wasn’t real from the moment with the TV to the 3 months after. That day I went home and didn’t leave my house for months, other then to just see my psychiatrist. I even contemplated suicide holding a knife to my wrist but just couldn’t seem to press down hard enough.

Only one of my best friends stayed with me throughout this dark period in my life. It’s really difficult to understand why these things happen to people who may not necessarily deserve it. For me personally even though it took me a hell of a long time to come to this conclusion, I wouldn’t change a thing. It’s scary that such a horrible thing could bring so much good out of me. I now want to work in mental health and addiction, I want to show people they’re not alone and there is hope. To this day I take Lithium which is a mood stabilizer for people diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Even though I don’t do drugs, sometimes it causes me to black out when I drink so I still have to be very careful.

Drug induced psychosis isn’t something you can recognize in people everyday; as you can see it took months for me to get help. If you know anyone who might be suffering from mental illness, help them see a therapist or talk to their loved ones. You might just save their life. Remember even though they may hate you at this moment, they will thank you for the rest of their life.

After reading this you may think it’s a joke or made up but it’s not, it’s my life and if you ever know someone or hear of someone or even see that guy talking to himself on the side of the street don’t laugh. That person would never want to be in that situation for a million years but for some reason they are. All you can do is try and get them to help or show your support towards how necessary mental health resources are in our community. And one last thing, if you have gone through something similar to this remember you are not alone.    

Violence Against Drug Users

Violence against drug usersViolence against drug users isn't something we enjoy thinking about, but it is a reality that plays itself out on a daily basis and it  is very much worthy of our concern and attention. It may not necessarily manifest itself through physical violence though it can and has in the past. Policies are sometimes created and adopted to discriminate against minority groups, in turn jeopardizing their social mobility. Examples of this can be illustrated through the creation of the Anti-Opium Ordinance passed in in 1878 which was directed at criminalizing Chinese immigrants who had used opium traditionally and as well when looking at the current laws surrounding crack cocaine as opposed to cocaine which seek to criminalize the lower classes that are traditionally associated with the use of crack cocaine. As I sat in a  criminal court room in Queens New York,  last December, case after case that was presented before me dealt with nearly the same thing; an individual tracked down through racial profiling, what appeared to be an unwarranted search, charged with possession of crack cocaine, case presented as an intent to traffic. Why was this happening? Why were all of these people who demonstrated clear signs of not only poverty but mental disorders as well, being criminalized? Why were their attorneys, supposedly in charge of their legal well being, seeming so aloof? It was because of this same violence that I want to turn to.  Violence against drug users, as I see it, is their denial of liberty, of a proper justice system and the permanent stain that is often left on their lives whether it be their denial into neighbouring countries or of a number of employment opportunities.

But it can take other forms as well, and whether we like to believe it or not, we may find ourselves being compliant in this oppression. I recently experienced the loss of someone I knew who was a drug user, and it was their drug of choice that created what I felt was an unfair memorialization of their lives. The drug happened to be heroin. It hurt me, and saddened me deeply to witness the judgement that was so quickly passed upon them. Things such as “it was her fault”, “well what do you expect to happen when you do heroin?” or “if she hadn't of done it in the first place she wouldn't have died” were all being said. This not only affected the way in which this individual was being perceived but deeply troubled the people who continued to love her and support her after she had died. As difficult as it is to navigate through such a delicate and tragic situation, I realized that there was something fundamentally wrong in these accusations. These same people who so readily placed judgement on her would not reacted in the same manner had her death occurred because she hadn't been wearing a seatbelt, or, I will go as far as argue, driving under the influence. This individual became the drug, and her personality was stripped of any other factor in such a violent matter that it struck me as not only immoral, but as deeply rooted in the way our society reacts to drug users in general. When you alienate people because of personal issues you have with a substance, you push them further into isolation. You can cause that person to lose self-esteem and stop caring themselves in the way that everyone should care about themselves which can cause them to fall into heavier use. Addiction is already a messy and confusing world for the person who is living in it, hostility only worsens the situation.
Reserve you judgement and examine your biases. Express your worries, be clear and persistent. Offer help, support, treatment options and love. Save a life.

EMPOWERing Youth: Youth Artists for HIV Prevention

For Immediate Release

January 17, 2011, Toronto, Ontario — Calling all youth peer educators! This release announces the launch of Empower: An HIV Capacity Building Project for Youth by Youth, a one-year project made possible by a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, an agency of the Government of Ontario. Bringing together diverse Toronto youth, Empower will train peer educators to use a community-arts based approach to HIV prevention and other sexual health issues. The project, which will run until December 1, 2011, is a collaboration between Central Toronto Community Health Centres, the Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange (CATIE), and Gendering Adolescent AIDS Prevention (GAAP).

“Education is a key part of HIV prevention,” says Rosario Marchese, Member of Provincial Parliament for Trinity-Spadina,. “Art is an incredible education medium, that’s why Empower is such a powerful tool within our community. If you can grab people’s attention to engage youth about HIV, then your message will be much more effective. Especially when you use youth educators to convey that message.”

Inspired by the success of “Empower: Youth, Arts, and Activism – An HIV/AIDS Arts Activism Manual for Youth by Youth,” this complementary project will train youth to use art as a tool for social change. Participants will include youth of colour, street-involved youth, lesbian, gay, bisexual, two-spirited, transgender and queer youth, youth living with HIV, and Aboriginal youth. Initially, 10 young people between the ages of 16 and 29, who have shown an interest in HIV issues and community engagement, will be recruited and paired with five peer education mentors. Participants will learn how to use their stories and experiences to create and deliver arts-based workshops and resources to their own communities, and will create digital stories sharing their experiences as HIV peer educators.

As part of our commitment to connecting youth-serving HIV projects, opportunities for networking and knowledge exchange will be coordinated with like-minded programs in the City of Toronto. Aside from the program’s core training initiative, Empower will also work in the following areas:

Community Consultation:

To get feedback on training curriculum and set a plan for ongoing collaboration, we will be hosting a community consultation between youth-serving HIV and sexual health projects in Toronto. This meeting will also be an opportunity for participants and mentors to share creative ideas for arts-based HIV prevention with youth.


Capacity-Building Training and Digital Storytelling:

The eight week-capacity building program will give youth the tools to build skills, make art, and share their digital story. Specific activities will include:

  • Attending fieldtrips to local organizations (an “Art Bus Tour”)
  • Participating in community arts, knowledge and skill-based workshops (anti-oppression, HIV/AIDS and sexual health 101, harm reduction, facilitation, photography, theatre etc.)
  • Creating arts-based community-specific workshops on HIV and sexual health
  • Creating digital stories on youth engagement and HIV
  • Showcasing work in a community forum

Get Involved!

Are you a community organization working with youth around HIV? We want to hear from you! For more information about the project, please contact Sarah Switzer, Empower Project Coordinator at 416-703-8480, ext. 143 or by email at sswitzer@ctchc.comWe will be posting application information for participants in February, 2011.

To see what we’ve done in the past, check out our website or download a copy of Empower: Youth, Arts and Activism through the CATIE ordering centre at





New Years Resolutions

Happy New Year TRIP!sters!!!!


For some, the coming of a new year signifies partying hard, staying up all night chatting with friends new and old and watching the sun rise as you remember the good and bad times that the previous year irrevocably handed you. For others, the new year signifies a time for reflection, particularly when you realize that certain parts of your life are going to change wether it be simply growing up, becoming a new parent, getting a new job (or accomplishing more at one you're at ) starting school ( or trying to stay in school ) or dealing with disease.

Mental health is as important as physical health and can even have a direct affect on your physical health. Consuming any substance will have an affect on your over all health so it is crucial that you keep in check with your consumption and take the time to ask yourself questions concerning your use.

These can be:

  • Am I using more lately?
  • Have I been spending a larger sum of my income on using?
  • Am I feeling more anxious then usual?
  • Has my consumption interfered with things I am trying to accomplish?
  • Is it becoming harder to say no to drugs and alcohol even when I know that it will affect my performance in the near future?
  • Have I been tired lately from lack of sufficient sleep? How has this affected my performance?
  • Has this resulted in negative feelings about myself and a lack of self-esteem?
  • Have I lost touch with past hobbies that I enjoyed?
  • Have I missed important appointments with doctors or counselors?

By taking a look at your consumption patterns you can learn a lot about yourself and start to make decisions that benefit you the most in the long term.  Remember, setting out goals can help with the decisions you want to  make for yourself! Little steps at first can make a huge difference in the end that can help you get to where you're going. Dealing with anxiety, depression and nervousness or plain old fatigue brought on from consumption can make it hard to accomplish certain tasks and discourage from pursuing your dreams head on and dealing with your responsibilities. Taking breaks between use and reflecting once the party has come to an end will boost your health and help you be all you can be!

For more info on making healthier harm reduction resolutions, check out our Safer Partying section!

Bad K Alert

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

Dear Community

 Thank 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 supportive environment.

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 ( ) and Twitter ( ). 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 and click on the Donate Now button.

Peace, Love, Unity, Respect and Responsibility.

How Healthy Can You Get?

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 International Launch

Levamicoke.infoOver 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!


Alcohol & Harm Reduction

Alcohol and Harm ReductionAlcohol: 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 very well. Keep an eye on each other. The Buddy System is an old system but a good one!

Drink in a safe environment. If you start to feel uncomfortable, you may want to leave or notify someone you are.

Drink 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 first.

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.

Un-cutting K

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):

Identifying ketamine shards

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 final customer.

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 (Methylsulfonylmethane) with close-up
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 shards looking suspiciously like K
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 lately.
MSG comes in a range of sizes:
MSG crystal size ranges
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.
MSG 40x close-up showing "dual shard"
However, this dual-shard formation is not always going to be present with MSG depending on how it has been manufactured and sorted:
MSG (close, smooth shards)
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.
Table Salt (close-up)
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 coloured.
Epsom (bath) salts
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 source.

Steps for assessing & separating a batch:

  1. Initial visual examination
  2. Initial taste examination
  3. Weight and/or physical separation into differently-appearing components
  4. 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.

Additional steps:

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.

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