Reagent testing kits
This guide is provided for informational and educational purposes only. We do not encourage you to break the law and cannot claim any responsibility for your actions.
Reagent testing kits is a drug testing method that uses chemical solutions that change in color when applied to a chemical compound. They can help determine what chemical might be present in a given sample. In many cases they do not rule out the possibility of another similar compound being present in addition to or instead of the one suspected.
Although very few substances are effective at dosages that allow the use of paper blotters, LSD is not the only one: It's essential to test for its presence to avoid substances of the NBOMe class. Additionally, it's becoming increasingly important to test for possible Fentanyl contamination, since this substance is effective at dosages that make it possible to put very high quantities on a single blotter.
NOTE: Reagents can only determine the presence, not the quantity or purity, of a particular substance. Dark color reactions will tend to override reactions to other substances also in the pill. A positive or negative reaction for a substance does not indicate that a drug is safe. No drug use is 100% safe. Make wise decisions and take responsibility for your health and well-being; no one else can.
- Drug checking reagents
- Ceramic spot plate, or other ceramic surface like a coffee mug
- Scraper for pills, or scissors/knife for paper blotters
- Micro lab spatula/scoop
- Latex gloves for protection
- Caustic soda to neutralize accidental spills
- Image/video recording device for easy review afterwards.
How to use reagents
IMPORTANT: Never have more than one reagent bottle open at a time. If you mix up the caps and put the wrong cap on the wrong reagent bottle, this may cross-contaminate the reagents and ruin them. Be sure to perform the tests in a well-lit location. Be careful when using the reagents, as they contain chemicals that can damage skin (we recommend wearing latex gloves). Keep the solutions far from your eyes and mouth. Also, make sure to clean up completely after each test.
- Scrape a tiny bit of your pill or powder (or cut a tiny piece, if handling a blotter) onto a large, white ceramic plate. Use just enough powder to see on the plate.
- Take the reagent bottle out of the plastic safety container. Remove the cap and turn the bottle upside-down a couple inches over the powder.
- Squeeze one drop out of the bottle onto the powder. Be careful to not let the dropper bottle touch your powder or you will contaminate and ruin the rest of the reagent. Replace the cap.
- Observe the color change right away. Optionally you can film the reaction with your phone or a camera for future reference. Use the corresponding columns of the color chart included with your kit to evaluate your test.
- If the reagent either does not change any color during the first 30 seconds or if it produces some other color-change sequence, then the pill definitely does not contain any of the above substances. It may also be highly adulterated with one or more unknown substances. You can use other reagents on new samples to look for the presence of other substances. Wash the testing surfaces with soap and water as soon as possible.
Drug checking at music festivals
Pill testing/drug checking at music festivals has been done at a growing number of events like: Boom Festival (since 2003), Parklife (2014), Groovin the Moo (2018), etc. Many use reagent tests as part of their services. To help others start drug checking services ANKORS has launched the Drug Checking at Music Festivals: A How To‐Guide.
Known substance testing reagents.
|Reagent test||Detection of chemical class(es)||Detection examples||Other|
|p-Dimethylaminocinnamaldehyde (DMACA) + acidic solution||Indoles|
|Ehrlich (contains p-dimethylaminobenzaldehyde (DMAB))||Indoles||Tryptophan, tryptamines (e.g. DMT, psilocybin mushrooms), ergoloids (e.g. LSD)||Tryptophan occurs in natural opium|
|Eldrich (contains p-DMAB-TS)||Indoles||Indolamines (LSD, DMT, foxy, 4-Aco-DMT, etc.) and for some
phenethylamines (2-CTX, 2CE, DOM, etc.).
|Folin A & B||Amines, amino acids, piperazines|
|Froehde||Alkaloids, especially opioids||Research chemicals|
|Gallic acid||Drug precursor chemicals (MDP2P, safrole). Distinction of MDMA, MDA and MDEA from amphetamine or methamphetamine.|
|Gold(III) bromide||Compounds with phenol and hydroxyl groups||Acetaminophen, ascorbic acid, heroin, lactose, mannitol, morphine, and sucrose||Ketamine|
|Liebermann||Cocaine, morphine, PMA, and PMMA, MDMA, certain substances from the 2C and other research chemicals etc. Used as a secondary test that tells the difference between methamphetamine and amphetamine, between MDMA and MDA or between methylone and MDPV.|
|Mandelin reagent||Ketamine, and PMA. Amphetamines, methadone, cocaine, opium, research chemicals.|
|Marquis||Alkaloids||Amphetamine-type compounds (Speed etc) including Methamphetamine, MDMA (Ecstasy/Molly), MDA, MDE, Opiates (Morphine, Codeine or Heroin), LSD, a general screening agent for other drugs e.g. Research Chemicals etc.|
|Mecke||Alkaloids||Heroin and other opiates (opium etc), LSD, Research Chemicals etc.|
|Nessler's reagent (Potassium tetraiodomercurate(II))||Ammonia|
|Scott reagent (Cobalt(II) thiocyanate)||Cocaine, lidocaine. Diphenhydramine|
|Simon A & B||Alkaloids, secondary amines|
Reagents are primarily sulfuric acid with other potentially dangerous chemicals, and are strong enough to burn skin and clothing. Keep out of eyes and mouth. Wear latex gloves when handling the bottle and cap. If you get some on you, then wash quickly with soap and water. Wash testing surfaces with soap and water as well. Dispose of any unwanted reagent down the sink with running water and baking soda. Store all testing kits in a cold, dark place such as a refrigerator between uses.
- Avoid exposure to direct sunlight or heat
- Keep in a safe place away from children
- Read information about expiry date, since many reagents tend to lose efficacy over time
- It's possible to store reagents in the freezer for a longer shelf life. Note that before use the reagent needs to be at room temperature.
Test kit expiration test
Common household items can be used to test if a reagent has expired. The following table shows known test results.
|before testing||colorless||colorless||traffic yellow||colorless|
|Aspirin||pink > deep red||no color change||black||no color change|
|Caffeine||no color change||no color change||brown||unknown|
|Codeine||dark purple||dark bluish green||faint orange||unknown|
|Ibuprofen||no color change||light brown||dark brown||unknown|
|Paracetamol||no color change||no color change||moderate olive||unknown|
|Salt (Sodium Chloride)||fizzes clear||fizzes clear||strong orange||unknown|
|Sugar||(slow) dark brown||briliant greenish yellow||slow brown||no color change|
|Vitamine C||very light yellow||(slow) orange||pale blue||no color change|
|Before testing||colorless||colorless||colorless||yellow ≥ red|
|Aspirin||blue ≥ purple||brown||unknown||no color change|
|Caffeine||no color change||no color change||unknown||no color change|
|Codeine||green ≥ red ≥ brown||faint brown||no color change||no color change|
|Ibuprofen||no color change||dark brown||unknown||no color change|
|Paracetamol||pale blue||brownish purple||unknown||no color change|
|Salt (Sodium Chloride)||fizzes strongly||fizzes strongly||unknown||no color change|
|Sugar||briliant yellow||very light purple||unknown||no color change|
|Vitamine C||pale yellow||brown ≥ purple-black||unknown||unknown|
Ehrlich can be tested with melatonin which turns pink when not expired.
- Drugs policies and electronic music culture | https://www.residentadvisor.net/features/2577
- The Loop: On-site Drug Safety Testing | https://wearetheloop.org/we-provide/
- Six UK music festivals are to allow drug testing including Reading and Leeds | http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/39996522/six-uk-music-festivals-are-to-allow-drug-testing-including-reading-and-leeds
- Pill Testing Australia: GROOVIN THE MOO 2018 report | https://pilltestingaustralia.com.au/project/spilt-milk-festival-2018/
- Drug Checking at Music Festivals: A How-To Guide | http://michelow.ca/drug-checking-guide/
- Guidelines for Drug Checking Methodology | http://newip.safernightlife.org/pdfs/digital_library/Guidelines%20for%20Drug%20Checking%20Methodology.pdf/