Music festivals and drug use have been going hand in hand since the 1960s. Colombia now hosts major music festivals across the country, where a local harm reduction organization has been testing drugs for their safety.
The tests have allowed harm reduction organization Hechale Cabeza, to find out which drugs appear to be the most popular among festival-goers, but also how drugs are often mixed with chemicals that increase the health risk for consumers.
The organization has been testing drugs of more than 5,000 users at festivals is to prevent them from accidentally ingesting more dangerous substances.
1) Ecstasy (48%)
Ecstasy is the street name for party pills that generally include a mix of synthetic stimulants. The pills are supposed to contain MDMA and amphetamine, as was common when the drug and term rose to prominence in the 80’s rave scene.
It is still the drug of choice at the large electronic music festivals around the world, and Colombia is no exception.
The ecstasy tested at Colombian music festivals was often of good quality, but also found to be cut with methamphetamine, alpha PVP (bath salts) and mephadrone, all higher risk stimulants than MDMA.
2) LSD (21%)
At one festival, only 52% of the LSD was real.
Blotter that tested negative for LSD was found to be cut with NBOME, a psychedelic that has similar effects to LSD but can be lethal in high doses, unlike LSD.
Echele Cabeza warns users that blotter with NBOME can be identified by a bitter taste and numbing effect on the tongue.
3) MDMA (17%)
Pure MDMA is less stimulatory, has a shorter duration, and produces feelings of love and empathy in contrast to the intense stimulation produced by the stimulants like amphetamine often added to ecstasy.
However, these same substances are also added to “Molly,” the tests found. At one festival, only 58% percent of molly tested was positive for MDMA, and were found to be cut with methamphetamine, Alpha PVP (bath salts) and mephadrone.
4) Cocaine (10%)
Unlike the other drugs, the domestically produced cocaine always tested positive and was not cut with other drugs.
The fact that cocaine is so widely available in Colombia could mean that users are less skeptical about the substance, and requested less testing as a result.
5) 2CB (4%)
2CB, a psychedelic amphetamine derivative with effects that are somewhere between the stimulant empathogen MDMA and the hallucinatory effects of LSD, was the most likely substance to be contaminated with a dangerous mix of other substances or to contain no 2cb at all. In 95% of 2CB samples tested, the substance contained no 2CB.