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Drug study finds some of Australia’s cocaine has less than 5% purity

Rachel Lang

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| Last updated 

Drug study finds some of Australia’s cocaine has less than 5% purity

Australia’s first government-backed drug and pill testing facility has released its second batch of test results and it's not good news for people who like cocaine.

In the second month of operation, Canberra’s CanTest health and drug checking clinic examined 98 samples of illicit substances.

One sample that claimed to be cocaine showed no traces of the substance whatsoever.

Testing indicated that it was chock-full of meth instead.

Other samples varied wildly in their purity levels, with some lower than 5 per cent and others as high as 71 per cent.

Pills and party drugs. Credit: Derek Croucher / Alamy
Pills and party drugs. Credit: Derek Croucher / Alamy

A total of 30 samples of MDMA batches, also known as ecstasy, that were tested were found to contain the key drug methylenedioxymethamphetamine.

There were 34 samples supplied that were sold to punters as MDMA.

Meth and heroin users found that all samples in the last month contained the illicit drug they were claiming to be.

Methamphetamine samples ranged in purity levels of 60 per cent to 69 per cent.

Heroin samples varied far more, with purity ranging from 27 per cent to 71 per cent.

The dodgy samples were analysed at the Australian National University Research School of Chemistry, with Associate Prof Malcolm McLeod pointing out that drug and pill testing provides healthcare workers and the government with an insight into what is actually being sold on the black market.

Researchers tested the drugs bought on the black market. Credit: Photononstop / Alamy Stock Photo
Researchers tested the drugs bought on the black market. Credit: Photononstop / Alamy Stock Photo

Associate Prof David Caldicott from ANU’s medical school helped oversee the drug testing service.

He said the testing facility is beneficial to 'a new generation of young consumers, many of whom have never sought advice on their drug consumption before'.

He told The Guardian that drug users are not 'some sort of Cookie Monster personified [who] can’t be negotiated with'.

The clinic also tested for the highly dangerous drug fentanyl.

No traces of the mega-deadly drug fentanyl has been detected in any of the samples in the last two months of public pill and drug testing.

The deadly drug, which is a synthetic opioid, killed 71,238 people in the US in 2021, which rose from 57,834 in 2020, according to WebMD.

Featured Image Credit: Greg Blomberg / Alamy. Riccardo Ceccherini / Alamy.

Topics: Australia, Drugs, News

Rachel Lang
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