My "Ten Commandments" of Safer Drug Use
Dominic Milton Trott is the author of The Honest Drug Book, which documents safety information for 140 different substances, and includes detailed trip reports to illustrate real-life experiences and potential risks. It includes data, general information, legal briefings, relative harm tables, overdose advice, reference material, and a drug dictionary.
People are dying because of ignorance. They are dying because unremitting propaganda is denying them essential safety information. They are dying because legislators and the media are censoring the science, and are ruthlessly pushing an ideological agenda instead. They are dying because the first casualty of war is truth, and the war on drugs is no different.
My new book - The Honest Drug Book – was a project driven by pain. I refer not only to the horrors of witnessing the deterioration of a loved one, but to the gut-wrenching feeling I experienced every time a fellow drug forum contributor suddenly disappeared, and a subsequent post revealed the reason.
Sometimes I could read between the lines and work out what went wrong. I used to do that to the extent that I found patterns: common errors and misjudgements. I discovered that I could even categorise them. I felt impotent in the face of this horror: what could I do about it? Could I do anything at all?
Eventually I found something: I could write. I could document my own modus operandi, my own journey, and focus upon what mattered to the user. I could present ideas, procedures, and information which might reduce and mitigate the ever-present risks of overdose and addiction. I could write it in terms that users understood, and on equal terms.
Following the most recent tranche of calculated hysteria from the usual tabloid culprits, which accused Facebook and Twitter of facilitating drug sales, my book was deemed to be “paraphernalia” by Twitter and banned from advertising. At the same time Facebook deactivated a number of large harm reduction groups, including the 48,000 strong Sesh Safety.
The net result of this is clearly less knowledge, more ignorance, more user errors, more tragedy and more death. The propaganda was as effective as usual. However, there are still routes around this sort of misplaced hostility. There are forums outside the control of large media-influenced corporations, and written material can be disseminated more directly.
It occurred to me that a couple of the segments in the introductory section of my book really are fundamental to the safety of anyone who may use drugs, and that these could easily be extracted and placed into the public arena as standalone safety guides - seeing as not everyone reads books, and not everyone can afford to buy books.
So here we have it, my basic common sense drug safety regime: my Ten Commandments of Safer Drug Use. If you’d rather read it in PDF format, click here.
Remember - prohibition kills, education saves lives. We must never cease educating.
MY 10 COMMANDMENTS OF SAFER DRUG USE
1. Research, research, and research. Use the internet, consult books, ask those with experience, and take your time about it. There is no imperative to rush, but there is imperative to get it right. Know as much as is reasonably possible about the chemical or botanical you intend to use well before you do so.
2. Source carefully. How confident are you that the substance is exactly what you expect it to be? Is it likely to have been cut with something undesirable? Could it be something close to, but not exactly what you ordered? Could something have gone wrong during manufacture or transport? Does your source have any sort of reputation? When you have obtained the substance itself, the safety process has barely begun. Don’t succumb to temptation to shortcut any of the following steps.
3. Test it*. Reagent testing can be used to identify many popular chemicals, and this isn’t rocket science to undertake. Test kits can be easily purchased online, and basic guides are abundant. See section 1.1.2 (of the book) for a demonstration of use.
An alternative is to use a third party service, such as WEDINOS, the Welsh Emerging Drugs & Identification of Novel Substances Project. With an online generated form, substances can be sent anonymously for free laboratory testing, with the results being published for your perusal on the WEDINOS website.
Similar services are now provided by organisations in a number of nations, using a variety of operational models. Examples include ecstasydata.org and energycontrol-international.org. Many festivals also provide on-site testing services.
If you are less than 100% certain regarding the content or purity of your substance, testing it is an absolute must-do.
4. Invest in, and use, some milligram (0.001g) scales. It should be obvious that dosing is a central issue, and that many chemicals are extremely dose sensitive, including at low levels.You shouldn't scrimp on or bypass this matter under any circumstances.
Bear in mind here that most scales are not precise enough to weigh accurately at the individual milligram level, but do tend to be reasonable for perhaps units of 10mg. If the intended dose is in the single milligram range, you will need a set of high quality scales or a set of microgram scales. Alternatively, volumetric dosing (dissolving a known quantity into a liquid) is commonly used. (More information on dosing and scales can be found in the PDF here)
Caution and concentration are vital. Take all sensible measures when handling chemicals, preferably using gloves and eye protection.
5. Properly and rationally consider the dose. Have regard for your circumstance, and all the information you have accumulated about the drug. If you are in a social setting, do not succumb to peer-pressure.
Always remember that you can take more if you need to, but you cannot un- take what you have already taken. This is something I cannot emphasize enough.
If this is the first time you have used this drug, you are introducing a new chemical into your body and you do not know how it will react. A low dose will usually reduce the risks to your personal safety and psychological wellbeing, including the prospect of having an overdose or a bad experience.
Take your time to explore, tread carefully, and don’t make hasty decisions.
6. Perform allergy tests. The risk here may appear to be small, but in some cases the impact of a serious allergy could be fatal.
Measure the smallest amount of the substance that you can. Then split it into smaller amounts. Place one part of this under or on to your tongue. If you experience any irritation, swelling or soreness, you could be allergic. Pending further tests and assurance, do not consume the substance in any way.
Note that allergy testing can also help to verify that you haven't acquired something significantly more potent than you intended.
7. Ask yourself if you are feeling okay. It is a serious question. If you are unwell, sick, or in poor health, these conditions may be amplified during the experience, or may have serious implications with respect to body load. If in any doubt, you shouldn't proceed.
This also applies to mental health. Some drugs can intensify whatever mood, feeling or psychological space you are experiencing at present. They may take you higher or lower, in terms of your current mental state, and hold you there. This can extend for uncomfortable periods with respect to the latter. This potential manifestation applies equally to both popular and uncommon drugs.
Delay or abandon the experience if there are any doubts or concerns.
8. Plan the experience, and its parameters, so that you don’t take rash decisions under the influence. Having taken whatever dose you have chosen, be patient, and don’t jump to the conclusion that it didn’t work, should onset not materialize. A common mistake is to double-dose, which can have dire consequences. Equally, unless you actually intend to redose at the outset, it is suggested that the rest of the material is placed out of immediate reach. If redosing is intended, perhaps place a maximum cap on this by having only a pre-determined total amount available to you.
Carefully consider set and setting: the place and circumstances under which you are going to undertake the experience. For psychedelics this will often determine the nature of the trip, and it can sometimes induce a bad or damaging ordeal. Consider the use of a trip-sitter if you are not experienced with this particular class of drug.
Have to hand water, food, or whatever other provisions or entertainment you are going to need.
For all psychoactives, bear in mind that your judgement and functionality may be severely impaired, which could be a significant factor if you are likely to find yourself in a public place, or indeed, any location in which you may be subjected to risk or danger.
9. Have the contact details of help services to hand in case of urgent need. Write down what you are dosing and place the note in a prominent place on your person. In the worst scenario, this may assist the emergency services.
If you are undertaking the experience with a group, seek to nominate an individual to abstain, in case help and objective rationality is needed.
10. Give your body plenty of time to recover and your mind due time to assimilate the experience. In other words, if you are a regular drug user, take a break between psychoactive sessions, and a long break between sessions using substances from the same class.
*For information on how to check your drugs using a simple test kit, click here.
The Honest Drug Book is available from Amazon, and is documented on its own website: www.HonestDrugBook.com.