We spoke with DanceSafe's Denver chapter president, Johnny Jones, to see what's cooking in Colorado's drugs …
Do you have any idea what's in that bag of white mystery powder you just bought from that questionable dude in the parking lot? Turns out, there’s a decent chance the “molly” he gave you might actually contain only some of the MDMA it’s supposed to.
With the summer concert and festival season in full swing, it seemed as good of a time as any to speak with Johnny Jones, Denver chapter president of DanceSafe, to see what kind of party favors are floating around Colorado. According to the numbers his company has been compiling through the years, there's a lot of weird shit being sold.
Know before you blow …
What’s Really In It?
Despite what frantic local news reports and VICE documentaries might have you think, not every batch of molly is loaded with adulterants that make everyone go into zombie mode. Of course, the deaths that occur from taking too much and/or taking highly adulterated drugs are not to be taken lightly, but the test results we looked at (from tests executed at DanceSafe booths from events going back to February 2015) paint a somewhat refreshing picture of the kinds of substances that are making their way through the Colorado drug scene.
Here’s what they found:
- 61 of 96 tests detected MDMA/MDA that was sold as Molly (in powder or crystal form)
- 6 of 96 tests detected MDMA/MDA that was sold as Ecstasy (in pill form)
- 10 of 96 tests detected Other Adulterants that were sold as Molly (in powder or crystal form)
- 0 of 96 tests detected Other Adulterants that were sold as Ecstasy (in pill form)
- 6 of 96 tests detected Cocaine that was sold as Cocaine
- 3 of 96 tests detected Other Adulterants that were sold as Cocaine
- 5 of 96 tests detected LSD that was sold as LSD
- 5 of 96 tests detected other chemicals that were sold as LSD
- Substances mixed with or misrepresented as Molly: Butylone/Methylone (commonly referred to as Bath Salts), piperzines, (meth)amphetamine, unidentifiable adulterants
- Substances misrepresented as LSD: 25i (N-bomb), 2C-B
- Substances mixed with or misrepresented as Cocaine: Methamphetamine
Keep These In Mind:
While it looks like there probably won’t be anyone flipping out and eating a neighbor's face off anytime soon, there are still some important things that are worth keeping in mind the next time you’re about to dip your pinky into a bag of party powder.
– The test results we looked at are a tiny fraction of all the drugs consumed at a given event; thus they should not be interpreted as being representative of all the drugs in Colorado. Likewise, they are not representative of what’s floating around throughout the country. Like Johnny Jones tells us, “We are just trying to give people a better idea of what they’re taking.”
– Taking drugs is like gambling. The big difference being you likely won’t end up in the hospital or dead if you lose at blackjack. With that in mind, why not increase your odds of winning at drugs by testing your shit before you take it?
– One thing we can take from the results is that you should test ALL of your drugs, not just your molly. Whether you decide to take it or not, it’s worth knowing what you’re putting in your mouth or up your nose.
– The quality of drugs can vary from event to event. Jones tells us that last years’ Sonic Bloom yielded some fairly promising results, while the results from the Mad Decent Block Party showed about 50-60 percent of the samples tested were misrepresented.
– DanceSafe test kits detect the substance that makes up most of the sample (51 percent or more). Your test may detect MDMA or cocaine, but your sample is likely cut with other substances, too.
– DanceSafe won’t always have a booth set up to help you test your drugs. Get a test and help your friends and neighbors out too.
According to Jones, there has been a noticeable increase in awareness and sales of DanceSafe testing kits, but it is still an uphill battle for the organization.
Even though their kits have the ability to test for more than 30 substances, new chemicals are finding their way into the recreational drug market on a daily basis, and there is only so much that a non-profit like DanceSafe can do to keep pace. Apart from the moving target that characterizes harm reduction, visibility and accessibility are the biggest hurdles that stand in the way of DanceSafe’s mission. While the organization does have a positive working relationship with some event promotion companies and venues, others are not so welcoming.
Just last year, DanceSafe had their booth unceremoniously booted from Electric Forest Festival. Likewise, Red Rocks has been reluctant to allow DanceSafe’s booth, but Jones says that the venue is slowly coming around. Given that DanceSafe won’t be able to set up their booth to test drugs and pass out information, the need for education about drugs and for individuals to invest in their own safety (and that of their friends) becomes even more pressing.
Moral of the story: Stay safe and look out for each other out there.