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Cutting Agents are used by drug dealers to add bulk to their product in order to create more profit by adulterating the original substance, in effect watering it down or diluting it. Some cutting agents are benign, and others are deadly. Just by adding an unknown amount of cutting agents changes purity from one batch to the next which makes accurate dosing impossible from one batch to the next.
This section will go over some of the ways to help identify certain cutting agents used in illicit drugs. Most of the time a person will use a reagent test kit, available online or possibly in your area by harm reduction programs, to help them identify what may or may not be in the product they just obtained.
First a list of some of the, more common, reagent test kits available.
Mecke - http://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/sho...hp?title=Mecke
Marquis - http://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/sho...?title=Marquis
Mandelin - http://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/sho...title=Mandelin
The above DF links to other Wiki pages can give some info to these reagents, but this section is more geared towards using these and other reagents/tests to identify cuts in illicit drugs already containing the desired substance.
MDMA and Ecstasy cut with Amphetamine/Methamphetamine - This way to test can be tricky but if your familiar with testing illicit products that are claimed to be MDMA, or Ecstasy, that do contain only MDMA then its alot easier notice. Also the colors and reaction times may vary depending on how much or little amphetamines are in your sample. You are going to need the Marquis reagent.
When you drop the Marquis reagent onto the sample, the amphetamines should become apparent (if there is a larger amount) slightly before the MDMA. According to the DanceSafe guide, you should begin to notice the orange-ish (can vary from yellowish to reddish) coloration a few seconds before the MDMA. Again this depends on the sample tested, if there is only a small amount of amphetamines present (and the sample is more MDMA "dominant") you may not see it react first, as there is too little and will take longer to react. Even with small amounts of amphetamine or methamphetamine present you should notice a browner coloration to the reaction in the lighter areas. Typically MDMA cut with amphetamine/methamphetamine will range from dark purple/black with some brown twinges in the lighter areas (for less cut product) to muddy brown or dark brownish orange colored reaction (for more cut product.) If the Marquis looks anything but dark purple almost black then be wary.
(This is not a guarantee as other substances can cause similar reactions. Assume this with most tests.)
***Disclaimer*** Always remember that reagent test kits can NOT be used to give a guaranteed positive that the substance in question is what the color reaction indicates. There are many substances which react similarly to each other.
Some substances used to cut illicit drugs can be fairly harmless while others can be quite dangerous. This section will go over some of the dangers associated with various cutting agents.
Levamisole, which is found in an increasingly large number of illicit cocaine samples over the recent years, is a substance that can lower a persons white blood cell count, making them more prone to bacterial infections. These bacterial infections can become deadly if the person effected does not seek proper medical treatment. One article, put out by the Harm Reduction Journal, examined 42 cases of Neutropenia (lower number of neutrophils which make up 50-70% of a persons white blood cells) from cocaine tainted with levamisole between Jan. 1 2008 and March 31 2009 in Alberta and British Columbia, Canada. (Ref #1) In 2009, the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) made an announcement that over 70% of the cocaine, analyzed by the DEA, in the U.S. was tainted with this substance. (Ref #2)
Symptoms of Neutropenia that are caused by a weakened immune system include; infections throughout the body, high fever, chills, swollen glands, painful sores, and wounds that won't heal. If detected and diagnosed properly it can be treated, but untreated may lead to death. (Ref #3)
BZP is most often found in Ecstasy pills (with or without MDMA) and sometimes used to cut MDMA. Many times TFMPP will be used in conjunction with BZP in order to produce MDMA-like effects. BZP has been known to produce negative effects in those who consume products containing it, particularly when used with MDMA. The following symptoms have been reported from users of this substance; agitiation, tachycardia, palpitations, seizures, collapse, anxiety, confusion, vomiting, and headache. These symptoms can last for up to, and possibly over, 24hrs. The most common of these symptoms reported were palpitations, vomiting, and agitation. (Ref #4)
This information is based on a study done in New Zealand on emergency admissions related to party pills between April and September of 2005, with 61 patients on 80 occasions. The most worrying information is in regards to the seizures, which 14 patients had (grand mal), although their average pill intake was the same as those who didn't. (Average pill intake of seizing patients 4.3, average of non-seizing 4.55) It should be noted that only a small portion of these cases were confirmed by toxicological analysis. (Ref #4)
This section will discuss the removal of various cutting agents that could be potentially harmful to your health. Some of the procedures discussed below may be theoretical.
Removing Caffeine from MDMA:
The following technique will help one remove almost all of the caffeine they may have in there MDMA product, but is assuming that the person in question has already been able to identify in some way that the MDMA or Ecstasy is cut with caffeine. This is theoretical and has not been performed by author.
MDMA - 50mg/ml h2o
Caffeine - 2mg/100ml h20 (20C)
According to Sigma-Aldrich specification sheet for MDMA, 50mg can dissolve into 1ml of water. Whereas caffeine’s solubility is much lower, with only 2mg/100ml. After looking over some data taken by Street-Work, obtained in Zurich, Switzerland, the author was able to find a general average for pills containing MDMA and Caffeine. (74mg MDMA, 38mg Caffeine) Lets use their data and assume that there is an average pill containing 75mg of MDMA and 40mg of caffeine. (This is assuming that there are no other adulterants in the pill of course.)
Crush up the pill and place in a shot glass with 5ml of distilled water, extra water to both make it easier for the MDMA to dissolve and in case some binders get pulled out. Swirl it around and let it sit for 2-3 hours (swirling occasionally for the first 1-2hrs, then let it sit for the last 30mins to 1hr). Once your ready, take a dropper and slowly suck up the water without sucking up any of the caffeine/binders/etc sitting on the bottom. You may have to tip the shot glass slightly to get the rest, you’ll get the hang of it. If you can’t get it all don’t worry. Pour in another 2-3ml, swirl, let sit for 15mins and repeat. If your really worried about losing product, do the same again with another 2ml.
Lets say you did the process above, 5ml the first, 3ml the second, and 2ml the third, totaling 10ml of water for this extraction of the MDMA. You should have most definitely gotten all the MDMA, but there should only be .2mg of caffeine in your product.
***Note – If it seems that a good majority of the pill binders are dissolving in the water, use more water than is recommended, to ensure that all the MDMA is taken up. This will take the person, who is performing this technique, own discretion on how much or little they use. Even if a person uses 100ml total (most likely not necessary), only ~2mg of caffeine will come through.
Also if you are sucking up some of the contents left in the bottom for whatever reason, you have the option to drip what you pulled up through a funnel with filter. If you have to do this extra step, drip extra water on the filter when your finished.***
Either take the water as is, or drip onto/into a small plate/bowl/shot glass and let the water evaporate. A fan may help but be careful that it doesn't blow away any product towards the end of drying. You should be left with 70-75mg MDMA, probably some pill binder, (possibly other active cuts if there are any), and a trace amount (.2mg) of caffeine.
1. Harm Reduction Journal; Levamisole tainted cocaine causing severe Neutropenia in Alberta and British Columbia; Lewinda Knowles, Jane A Buxton, Nataliya Skuridina, Ifeoma Achebe, Donald LeGatt, Shihe Fan, Nancy Yan Zhu, and James Talbot; November 17 2009.
2. SAMHSA. "Nationwide Public Health Alert Issued Concerning Life-Threatening Risk Posed by Cocaine Laced with Veterinary Anti-Parasitic Drug"; Press Release; September 21 2009.
3. Erowid Crew. "Cocaine Adulterated with Levamisole on the Rise." Erowid.org. October 1 2009.
4. World Health Organization. N-benzylpiperazine (BZP) Pre-Review Report. Expert Committee on Drug Dependence, 35th meeting. Hammamet, Tunisia, 4-8 June 2012.
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