DIY drug testing kits have been available for purchase at Newcastle University as well as other colleges so that students can find out whats really in the pills they take.
The test kits are being sold for £3 at the students’ union due to a rise in deaths linked to PMA or PMMA, a substance frequently used as filler in ecstasy or MDMA.
While experts say that the test kits cannot be 100% accurate, they are backed up by campaigners who insist that they can save lives.
The test kits are easy to use, with instructions being provided with each kit, they are simply snapped open and put a small sample of your substance, whether it is in the form of a pill or powder.
After shaking the kit, the solution inside will change colour, which should give an indication of what the main component of the drug is.
Some drug test kits seem to work better than others as a colour change which was supposed to indicate the drug as ketamine, turned out to be wrong, forming the colour of green which represents amphetamine.
“We know this is ketamine, we are 100% sure. The kit is giving us a false reading.” drug analyst Anca Frinculescu says.
Early in the month of May 2016, a 17-year-old girl had died after taking a strong dose of what was believed to be MDMA in Manchester.
While campaigners admit that the tests are not perfect, they argue that they can limit risks and give a good insight on the substance.
Zoe Carre, Newcastle’s founder of Students for Sensible Drug Policy says: “We’re not saying drug use is safe. We’re saying the safest thing is not to take drugs,”
“But we’re telling people if you are going to use them, you can do it in a safer way.”
“We’re not giving a false sense of security that the kits are 100% reliable. We’ve been educating students on the limitations of these tests but we believe they’re better than nothing.”
To find out more about the drug testing kits in Newcastle, choose from the list below: