Ecstasy testing kits work by applying a reagent to the drug powder and then observing the colours it produces to determine what chemical compounds are prevalent.

Final preparations are being made to distribute ecstasy-testing kits in Canada specifically designed to detect a toxic compound linked to numerous deaths recently, but police aren’t supporting the move.

Working in partnership with a private contractor, Seattle-based harm-reduction group DanceSafe and Toronto’s Trip! Project expect to have commercially available PMMA-ecstasy testing kits ready in weeks.

The PMMA compound is considered cheaper and five times more toxic than the more common ecstasy compound MDMA.

“This is about helping people determine what is good ecstasy, that being MDMA,” said DanceSafe President Nathan Messer.

The group does already offer numerous testing kits designed to detect other compounds in ecstasy powder, but has run into difficulty when attempting to ship mass quantities of kits over the border.

Once the PMMA tests are ready, Trip! will take care of domestic production and distribution, confirmed Lori Kufner.

Police representatives consulted by Metro Thursday indicated that there was nothing to suggest the kits are illegal but they stressed that ingesting any ecstasy compound is dangerous.

“They offer a false sense of security,” Calgary police spokesperson Kevin Brookwell said of the kits. “Are you willing to risk your life on the results of an unproven test?

“This not about PMMA…. People have been dying of overdoses of all kinds of street drugs for years.”
Messer said where his group would traditionally field one or two calls a month from potential Canadian customers. Lately, the phones have been ringing daily.

He also took issue with the police stance on the testing kits.

“So, if you are speeding and die, should we not be making cars safer?” he said.

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