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Australian Drug Clinic Finds 40 Percent of Cocaine is Coke-less

Aug 31, 2022

Melisa Yuriar

2 min read

A drug testing clinic in Canberra, Australia, determined that 40 percent of all cocaine tested was tainted with coke-less substances. The facility’s service, CanTest, is Australia’s first on-site pill and drug checking service. The researchers examined cocaine from 58 samples for the study. All cocaine tested by CanTest indicated purity levels below 30%, and 40% of the samples contained no cocaine at all.

Researchers led by Associate Professor Malcolm McLeod at the Australian National University’s (ANU) Research School of Chemistry determined that samples were cut with fillers like dimethyl sulfone, sugar, and talc.

Of the Ketamine samples tested, much of them contained a majority of the substance. Only 65% of MDMA samples had the majority of the drug, and heroin samples tested indicated purity levels ranging from 31% to 63%.

The study’s findings provide an insight into what kinds of drugs are sold in the local market, explained the professor in a report by the Guardian. “They also suggest the service is reaching a far-broader cross-section of the drug-taking community than what was possible from Australia’s first festival-based pill testing services conducted in previous years,” he shared.

The CanTest clinic service won’t adjourn until after six months. The trial run is a collaborative effort with a few of Australia’s pioneering health, harm prevention, and drug testing organizations: Directions Health Services, CAMHA, Pill Testing Australia, and ACT Heath.

An Associate Professor from ANU’s medical school, David Caldecott, who maneuvered the study and guided researchers throughout it, shared that he felt it was vital to engage “a new generation of young consumers, many of whom have never sought advice on their drug consumption before.”

As the drug overdose death toll numbers continue to climb across North America from tainted fentanyl and cocaine consumption, studies like this could pivot the conversation surrounding the opening of drug testing sites to move forward.

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