Even Festival Drug Testing Can't Save You From These Potent Chemicals
Although many festivals are taking the route of harm reduction by offering festival attendees the opportunity to test their drugs without interference from law enforcement, organizers of Shambhala admit testing has limited abilities.
Chloe Sage, Shambhala’s Harm Reduction coordinator had this to say in an interview with CBC:
"We are generally testing for misrepresentation. If a drug is sold as MDMA but doesn't have any MDMA in it at all, we can tell people that ... but if it is MDMA mixed with something else we cannot,”
The tests themselves use different reagents to detect the presence of MDMA in a substance. They do not, however test for purity. This is problematic because for some individuals, the simple presence of MDMA is enough reason for consumption. However, there are two very dangerous chemicals – Fentanyl and W18 – which can be fatal in even the smallest doses.
"Fentanyl is probably one of the scariest and W-18 is even scarier and I don't think it is the last one we will see either," she said.
Fentanyl is a dangerously addictive narcotic that is used to treat chronic pain, putting it in the same class of drugs as other notoriously addictive opioids like heroin and morphine.
But it gets more frightening. W-18 , a relative to fentanyl, is said to be 100 times more potent than morphine. Both fentanyl and W-18 have become suspects in the spike opioid related deaths in Canada.
Although Shambhala will be providing services to festival attendees to limit physical harm caused by recreational drug use, education is important.
As Sage mentioned in an interview with CBC: "There is no such thing as pure drugs anymore,”
Shambhala will be taking place August 5-8, in Salmo, British Columbia.