This week, Suzannah Weiss of Vice Magazine spoke to a student representative from Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Use in an effort to answer a very important question in drug safety: How do people find drug dealers? And then, what are some of the risks of buying drugs on the underground market, especially from an unfamiliar seller?
The Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy have developed the Sensible Cannabis Education Toolkit to support adults in having informed and non-judgmental conversations with young people about cannabis. The Get Sensible Campaign was launched to carry this message across Canada, so we knew that this would be the perfect opportunity to show the group’s area of expertise.
Vice: How do people even find dealers, let alone “good” ones?
If buyers aren’t able to find anyone through their contacts, they can try to meet new ones by joining local groups who might be able to point them in the right direction. Heath D’Alessio, a facilitator for Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy, suggested buyers attend meetings for their city’s psychedelic society, if it has one, or similar groups, to meet people who might have connections. “If you’re buying drugs locally, tapping into the knowledge of your local community of drug-using people is one way,” they said.
Vice: OK, what else should people know about harm reduction if they successfully buy drugs from a new-to-them seller?
One way people can potentially protect themselves when they’re buying drugs is to test any substances they buy. There are at-home drug testing kits, called reagent kits, available for purchase from sites like TestKitPlus or DanceSafe, but the most accurate tests involve sending samples of the substance to a lab through an organization like Energy Control or EcstasyData.org, according to D’Alessio. “Some places have mass spectrometers that can do a full analysis of the chemical composition of a substance,” they said. “It’s the most comprehensive testing and also can provide great public health data about the purity and composition of local drug markets.”
If a person is using LSD, they can also look for cues of adulterants like unusually large tabs, said D’Alessio. Anything over 0.5 centimeters may be a red flag. A strange taste could also be a warning sign: “When it comes to acid, what you want to avoid is NBOMes, a group of novel psychoactive substances (NPS) that are often sold as LSD,” they said. “They both produce hallucinations; however, NBOMes have other undesirable side effects. NBOMes taste metallic or may numb the mouth.” Obviously, a person will have taken the drug by the time they taste it, but they should avoid taking more and call for help if they notice any of those signs.
Information for journalists who want to feature CSSDP
Hi-resolution images of Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy and their Get Sensible Cannabis Education Kit (for parents) can be found in the CSSDP Media Kit.
Journalists interested in talking to members of CSSDP can start with a 15-minute call to get the ball rolling.
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