Drugs are an unavoidable topic in the music world. Whether we’re talking about a festival like Bonnaroo, or an intimate show at your favorite local club, substances are bound to be floating around the crowd. Whether the choice is complete abstinence or some degree of test kit, it’s up to your own judgment on how to stay safe.
For many, the use of pill testing kits like those from DanceSafe.org and Bunk Police, are where the road ends regarding assured safety. With these kits, you’re provided a solution that will change color when it interacts with a particular chemical, letting you know what is, or what isn’t, in a substance. However, can these test kits really keep you from harm?
To answer the question, Thump interviewed Imperial College London’s David Nutt, the same neuropsychopharmacologist behind the groundbreaking research on LSD’s effect on the brain. What Nutt had to say about these test kits was disheartening to say the least, but he doesn’t deny their usefulness or their purpose. Though it’s true the solutions may tell you what’s in a substance, “they won’t tell you everything it has inside it, or how much.”
Still, when asked for his own opinion regarding these test kits, Nutt’s response was blatant, honest, and something that should be considered by all who use them.
“I think they give you a false sense of security. Roadside testing for users half an hour before they are going to pop it is a complete waste of time and may do more harm than good. I’m an enthusiast for testing as it’s done in the Netherlands and Wales, where you can go to a professional lab and find out exactly what you’re getting.”
And when the discussion ventured towards what can be done to provide better testing resources, Nutt was quick to say what’s been on all our minds: legalization and strict regulation.
“The kits are promoting safe drug use, which I’m all in favor of, but whether they actually provide safety, I don’t know. There’s not enough evidence to recommend them. If you’re going to take drugs, try to get them from a source that’s reliable and you can go back to. If you’re going to use something for the first time, take a tiny amount. It would be lovely to prepare the tests with a mass spectrum and see if they’re compliant with trading standards. It’s all a bit of a lottery—what we should be doing is treating [these drugs] like pharmaceuticals and having complete quality control.”
For the full interview, click here.