How to test your drugs: Nellie finds out | Drugslab Extra


On Drugslab,
we test drugs in the name of science. And on Drugslab Extra we answer
questions about the world of drugs… because there’s much to tell. If you have a question about drugs
or the world around drugs… leave a comment,
and we might look into it for you. I’ve told you a million times before:
Have your drugs tested. You were wondering how it works,
so I’m going to investigate that today. I’ll show you what I have in my pocket:
Two XTC pills. I don’t know how strong they are
or what they contain. I’m going to have that tested. In the Netherlands
you can have your drugs tested. This is a good thing,
because even if you trust your dealer… you may not get what you ordered. Your pills may contain lots of MDMA
or they could be dirty. Or maybe they switched
cocaine with ketamine. I’m going to the test service
to find out how it all works. Should I introduce myself?
-That’s not necessary. This is an anonymous service,
so we leave it up to the client… to introduces themselves, or not.
It’s not required. We’re an anonymous test service.
You can have your drugs tested here. You can’t have
more than three samples on you. If you do, you might be a dealer and
we’re not allowed to test for dealers. They must be bought in the Netherlands.
We also don’t test raw materials. We only test drugs
intended for personal use. What do you test here?
-All illegal drugs… Pills, powders, liquids, paper trips.
You can have everything tested. Drugs are illegal, yet you can have
them legally and anonymously tested. Why is that?
-The goal is to monitor the drug market. The government finds it important… so we can keep track of
what’s on the illegal market. If there are dangerous substances
on the market… that are a public health threat… we can issue a warning and make
drug users aware of the danger. If it’s really dangerous, the warning
can be issued on the evening news. What do you want to have tested?
-It’s in my pocket. Two XTC pills. I want to have it tested,
but I have no idea how it works. We’ll do it step by step.
Which one do you want to do first? Which colour? The yellow one.
-The yellow one. With pills we can do several things. It’s important to enter the pill’s
characteristics into the database. But before I do that,
we always ask some questions. For example,
when did they buy the drug. It doesn’t have to be precise,
but was it a week ago, or a month. Sometimes it’s over a year old. That’s vital information
if you want to monitor the drugs market. We also want to know
where they bought it. People are often afraid to say where,
but we just want to know the region. We also ask the price. They don’t need
to answer, but it’s interesting for us… to see whether the stronger pills
are getting more expensive or not. And also as what did they buy it. Do you know what this should be?
-I think XTC. We also ask if they’ve used it, and if so,
we want to know what the effects were. Sometimes people get sick
or have such a bad experience… that they get so worried
that they want to have it tested. After we’ve had a good talk about it,
people begin to realise… that next time
they should have it tested first. Do you ever call the police
when someone comes here with drugs? No, never. We’ve made agreements
about that with the police. Otherwise we couldn’t do this.
If people think we’d call the police… because they brought drugs here,
no one would have their drugs tested. We have to work together.
We really won’t call the police. Let’s enter the pill’s characteristics. We’ll first check if it’s a known pill
based on its characteristics. Pills have different logos, colours,
shapes and sometimes a breakline. That info is entered into the computer,
but also the size. If the characteristics match,
the system can indicate… that this pill is identical to pills
we’ve tested the past few weeks… and based on that we can give a result.
And finally, we’ll do a pH-test. This is a bottle of acid, Marquis acid. It reacts with several substances
that could be in a pill. To do that I’m going to scrape a bit
off of the pill. Just a little bit. You can hardly see it, but it’s there.
-That’s almost nothing. And when we add
a drop of Marquis acid… we should be able to see a reaction. This is a very striking reaction,
because if this was XTC… the active ingredient would be MDMA,
which would cause a very dark reaction. Like bluish-black or violet black,
but that’s not the case with this pill. This is a more greenish reaction.
-I think it’s probably 2C-B. This is more like how 2C-B
would react to this acid. So this isn’t an XTC pill.
-Indeed. People sometimes buy a pill
thinking it’s XTC, while it’s really 2C-B. It rarely happens, but it does.
2C-B has a different effect than MDMA. It’s more trippy and hallucinogenic,
which can make people very anxious. We’ll enter this characteristic
into the database… and in combination with existing data
the system might recognise the pill. Only then can we be sure
that 2C-B is involved. But also how strong it is,
how much 2C-B it contains. We’ve entered all the data
and the pill is not recognised. We can send it to a lab, where they’ll
take it apart for a complete analysis. In a week you’ll find out
what it contains and how much of it. The whole pill?
-Yes, the whole pill goes to the lab. You’ll get a code, which you can use
to call for the results in a week. You don’t need to give your name,
just the code… and then they’ll tell you
if it contains 2C-B and how much… and if there were
any other substances in the pill. Does it cost money?
-That depends on the test service. Most test services are free, but here
in Amsterdam it costs 2.50 per sample. How many drugs get tested?
-On a yearly basis… the test services receive about
12,000 different samples nationwide. XTC pills are the most common. Not everyone has their pills tested,
but that number is increasing. Is the number increasing?
-More people are using the test service. We tell the result to one person,
but they share it with all their friends. Shall we test if this one is XTC?
Let’s hope so. The reaction is dark blue, dark purple,
so that’s more like MDMA. Fortunately.
-It’s an indication that it contains MDMA. This one isn’t recognised either now. This was a nice experience. Are we
the only country with a test service? I think a lot of people are unaware
that there’s one in their country. Worldwide there are 20 countries
that offer some kind of test service. That number is increasing,
most of them are in Europe. Some countries do it like we do,
others only test drugs at festivals. There are several possibilities. Some countries don’t offer this service,
so how about testing it yourself? That’s what we’ve shown you here.
This acid and comparable acids… can be bought online or in smart shops. It’s a way to rule out
that it’s a certain substance. It’s an indication,
but it doesn’t show everything. It can lead to a false sense of security
about what it is, so be very cautious. But if there aren’t any other ways
to have your drugs tested… it’s the next best thing
that you could do. This was very interesting. It was nice
that she was open and understanding. I expected more critical questions
about my personal drug use… but she stayed very neutral
and didn’t judge me at all. I felt very at ease and not for a moment
did I think they would call the police. If you can have your drugs tested,
just do it, guys. Because the pill I brought along
turned out to be 2C-B instead of XTC. By doing this you can prevent a bad trip
or maybe even save your own life… because you know how much
it contains. That’s really important. So I’ll say it one last time:
Have your drugs tested. Next week
there’s a regular episode of Drugslab. Keep on asking questions
in the comments and let us know… where we should go, what we should try
and what we should investigate. Give us a thumbs up for this episode
and subscribe, if you haven’t yet.

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