AN Edith Cowan University addiction expert has recommended people use their own pill testing kits for illicit drugs, in the absence of any provided at music festivals.
Over the summer music festival season there have been six drug-related deaths that may have been preventable had on-site testing been available.
In an article on current affairs website The Conversation, Stephen Bright said home reagent testing kits can be a useful alternative.
“What many people might not know is they can already legally purchase reagent test kits to test their drugs at home,” Dr Bright wrote.
“Reagents are chemicals that react with a small sample of the drug being tested by changing colour.
“The most well known reagents are marquis, mandelin and mecke. The colour change indicates what might be in the drug.”
Dr Bright said reagent testing had its limits, but could “identify potentially fatal adulterants in ecstasy such as PMA and Nbome”.
“While politicians continue to debate whether more sophisticated pill testing should be implemented in Australia, I recommend people use reagent testing,” he wrote.
“And so do Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), a grassroots network of young people campaigning for drug policy reform.”