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PrEP, PEP, HIV, And Undetectable Status

What Is HIV?

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a type of retrovirus that attacks the immune system. After a period of time without treatment, the infected individual’s immune system becomes compromised and susceptible to opportunistic infections such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, cancer and eventually AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome). HIV can be transmitted through:

  • sexual contact with an infected partner
  • exposure to infected body fluids such as blood through sharing injection drug tools and tattoo or piercing equipment
  • or from mother to child
With advances in the treatment for HIV, most folks who are HIV-positive live a long and healthy life rivaling that of someone who is HIV-negative.  

HIV infographic CATIE

HIV Prevention Methods

Reduce the risk of transmitting HIV by:


  • using condoms, 
  • getting tested (we have anonymous rapid testing at Queen West CHC (168 Bathurst St.) - get in touch for more info or drop in!), 
  • using only clean injection supplies
  • engaging in low risk sexual activity

Undetectable Viral Load

Viral load is the number of copies of the HIV virus present in a person’s blood, When someone tests HIV-positive, they get tested regularly by their doctor to determine what their “viral load” is. It is an important marker that indicates how well the medication they are taking is suppressing the virus. An “undetectable viral load” is when the amount of virus particles in the blood becomes so low that it can no longer be detected. When the virus is suppressed by medication well enough that the person has an undetectable viral load, HIV no longer exerts many of its damaging effects on the body and frequently the immune system begins to recover. To get their viral load to undetectable it is important to take antiviral medication every day as prescribed.


How is this important to a person who is HIV negative? In recent years, a number of medical studies have shown that when someone with HIV takes antiviral medication as prescribed and maintains an undetectable viral load that their risk of transmitting HIV to an HIV negative partner through sex is so low that it is almost eliminated. It is important to keep in mind that with even a small break in taking antiviral medication an HIV positive person’s viral load can rise again raising their risk of transmitting HIV to a partner. Its also important to note that even if someone has an undetectable viral load they can still contract and transmit other STIs.



PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) is a treatment to prevent HIV infection in a person who may have been recently exposed to the virus (the Plan B of HIV prevention). If you think you have been exposed to HIV through unprotected sex, sharing equipment while injecting drugs or sexual assault PEP can help to significantly reduce your risk of getting HIV. PEP involves taking antiretroviral medications as soon as possible, and within a max of 72 hours from the exposure. To access PEP, go to the emergency room of your nearest hospital. If you have experienced sexual assault you will not be forced to report the incident to the police if you do not want to. In many places health plans do not cover PEP but staff at the emergency room or a sexual health clinic can help you find ways to access it.


“PrEP” stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis. PrEP is a way for people who don’t have HIV to prevent HIV infection by taking a daily pill. If you take PrEP and are exposed to HIV through sex or injection drug use, these medicines can work to keep the virus from taking hold in your body. PrEP is recommended for use by folks who are HIV negative and at high risk for HIV infection. PrEP is not meant to replace condoms, but to be incorporated into a safer sex practice that includes condoms because it is not 100% effective and does not prevent other STIs.


Rapid, Anonymous HIV Testing Looking to get tested? You can get an anonymous, rapid HIV test by pro harm reduction staff at Queen West Community Health Centre (168 Bathurst St.) where we're housed. It takes about 20 minutes, or you can get the standard HIV test done which takes about 2 weeks (but we like the rapid test because then you don't have to wonder about the result.)

Tips for Getting Home Safer



#1 Share your plan with friends or family!

#2 Keep a cell phone on hand or be aware of where you could go to get help if you need it.

#3 Have a backup plan.


Like with partying in general, travel with people who have your back! If you’re travelling alone, let people know where you’re headed, when you expect to be there and how they can reach you.


Taking the TTC

Buses, Streetcars and Subways 


- Check routes in advance as some might not be 24hrs. Check in advance for stop closures or construction that might affect your plans. 

- A TTC day pass can be used by two adults for unlimited travel on Saturdays, Sundays and statutory holidays, until 5:30 am the next day. (When it’s not a weekend, day passes are good for one adult).



You can use the Request Stop program when travelling alone by bus between 9:00pm and 5:00am. Request Stop allows folks feeling vulnerable to get off the bus between regular TTC stops.

  • Ask at least one TTC stop ahead of where you want to get off. The driver may not be able to stop if there’s construction or something, but generally they’re cool.
  • Exit the bus via the front doors, the rear doors will remain closed.

Take Care When Walking to or from a TTC Stop

  • Walk with confidence and be alert to your surroundings.

  • Avoid taking shortcuts or walking in dark areas.

  • Be aware of places where you can get help if you need it, like open stores, restaurants, and public telephones.

Prevent Pickpocketing

  • Remain alert. Crowded places like bus stops, buses and subways are prime spots for pickpockets.

  • Be aware of loud arguments or people bumping into you - They may be staged to distract you while a thief lifts your wallet or bag.

  • Carry only what you need. Avoid carrying unnecessary cash, credit cards and other valuables.

  • Carry your valuables like your phone/wallet  in a place other than your back pants pocket or outermost bag pocket

  • If you have a bag be sure to carry it in front of you and close to your body with your hand over the closure.

Taking A Taxi? You’ve got rights!


The new Taxicab Bill of Rights combines the rights of passengers with the rights of drivers. It will be posted in all taxicabs, outlining the reasons why cabs can refuse a fare, along with a QR scan code that will help you easily file a compliment or complaint.  

Consider keeping a phone or pen and paper handy to write down taxi license number and company name. Be quick! They can take off in a flash.

Your driver is a professional who is licensed by the City of Toronto and must:

  • be courteous and provide you with assistance

  • know the major routes and destinations in Toronto

  • speak and understand English

  • offer a silent ride if requested

  • provide a receipt noting the date and time of the distance travelled, the taxicab licence  and the fare charged

  • not recommend hotels or restaurants, unless requested

The taxicab must be:

  • equipped with an in-car camera that can be downloaded by police in the event of a crime

  • a smoke free environment

  • in a good mechanical and physical condition equipped with easily accessible seat belts, which you are responsible for wearing

  • clean in the passenger area and the trunk

  • heated or air-conditioned on demand.

As the passenger, you:

  • may direct your driver on the route to be taken

  • have the right to a free ride if the meter is not in a recording position

  • must pay your fare and any authorized charges or fees

Where can I make a complaint about a cab?

You can file a complaint about your cab ride (condition of the vehicle, driver behaviour, use of cell phone, route taken or fare) by calling 416-392-3082 or emailing

I only want to go a short distance. Can a taxicab driver refuse to pick me up?

No. A taxi driver cannot refuse a fare based on a short distance. If you can, get in the backseat, close the door, put your seatbelt on (if we’re giving safety tips :P) and THEN tell the driver where you’re going. If the door’s locked, tell them you’re going somewhere farther away than you are, then “realize” you’re actually only going to your real destination. (Only do this with a metered taxi, not a flat rate).

Hailing a cab - why can a taxicab driver refuse to pick me up?

There are six reasons why a taxicab driver can refuse to pick you up. They are:

  1. You owe the driver a fare from a previous unpaid trip

  2. You do not disclose your final destination

  3. You ask to be driven to a remote area that the driver deems unsafe

  4. You are unduly obnoxious or abusive

  5. You smoke in the taxicab

  6. You refuse to pay the estimated fare in advance of the trip (up to $25)

Puking in a cab?  You could pay for It.

Taxicab drivers can charge a $25 cleaning fee if a passenger soils the taxicab.


Drivers will also be permitted to request that passengers pay the estimated fare before starting the trip (to a maximum of $25).

Taxi reform - pre-payment could lead to further discrimination, there is concern that some people will be asked to pre-pay based on their appearance. Pre-payment is meant to help cut back on the number of people who leave taxi’s without paying but it’s up to the discretion of the driver to decide who will be required to pay in advance and how much.

Driving or Catching a Ride

  • Make sure your driver is sober and awake enough to drive. Consider keeping a few supplies like bags, napkins and water in the car in case a passenger feels sick on the way.

  • Keep a charged cell phone with you in case of emergencies.

  • Lock the car doors to prevent theft and be aware of your surroundings in dark or deserted parking lots.

  • Careful of where you park, especially downtown. Overnight parking is prohibited on most downtown streets and even more locations in the winter (for snow ploughs).

  • Avoid parking near a fire hydrant or on private property to avoid overnight parking fees, parking tickets or towing charges.

Driving home may seem like a good choice but you take drugs to affect your body and/or mind - do you really think you’ll drive like you’re sober? Driving high has been on the rise amongst teen drivers, becoming just as common as driving drunk. There is significant risk of injury to yourself or others when driving impaired so consider alternatives to driving yourself home.

GTA Designated Drivers offers a service year round where at a rate of $85 up to 20km then an additional $3 per km two licensed and insured drivers will pick you up and drive you and your car home.

some apps that might be useful:





Gata Labs

You can also text the number at TTC bus & streetcar stops to see when the next one will arrive.


ttc    ttc number


You can input the numbers into your phone before getting inside and texting before leaving minimizing the amount of time spent waiting outside alone/in the cold.

With these tips in mind we wish you safe travels!

Links/Articles this blog post draws information from:

Drug Impaired Driving

Taxi Info Source - City of Toronto Website:

Taxi Reform - Pre-Payment could lead to further discrimination:


Cutting Back

cutting back

Some people swear by the 12 step program and abstinence in general. That might work for some folks but as we know, it definitely doesn’t work for everyone. When you notice your use is getting out of hand, what can you do? What happens when the party is fun, but just doesn’t stop, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, all of sudden it’s out of control? Addiction is a complicated thing. For the purposes of this post, we’ll just be talking about harm reduction tips (things you can do right now, without stopping use entirely) for when you or someone you love’s drug use seems to be getting the best of them.

For more support around dealing with addiction in Toronto, hit up Breakaway Addictions, YMCA or East Metro Youth Services.

Educate Yourself

Before you decide to use any substance, it’s super helpful to educate yourself as much as possible. This can mean learning about the effects, risks, dangers, dosage, duration of effect, after effects, overdose potential, and addiction potential. At the Trip! Project we provide literature with this sort of information. You can also check out websites like or and to ask questions and find info.

All recreational drugs have potential effects that could be desirable or not - it’s important to be prepared for both. We all take risks every day. Taking any drug is definitely a risk, so try to prepare yourself for possible outcomes. This could mean eating a good meal before you party, choosing spaces to use in where you feel safe, taking vitamins, bringing water with you, getting a good night’s sleep, checking in with yourself about where your head’s at or testing your substance. All these factors can impact your experience, along with the risks that come with specific drugs. Putting the prep time in also puts you in a better headspace to make the choices that are best for you.  

Setting Boundaries and Limits

Here are some questions you might want to ask yourself before you party:

What drugs do you feel are okay for you?

How often do you plan on using this drug?

How much are you comfortable with using at a time?

How much money are you going to be spending on it?

When do you plan on using it?

Have you set time aside for the hangover or after effects?

Where do you plan on using it and where will you be while you’re high?

Who do you feel comfortable using drugs with?

Are you okay with having sex while you are high?

What routes of administration (railing/injecting/popping a cap/etc) are you okay with using?

These are all questions you should make a habit of asking yourself if you're a person who chooses to use drugs. Paying attention to these questions every time you use can help you sort out where your own personal limits are and stay within them. Reminding yourself of these limits can help you stay in control!

Getting Back on Track

Uh-oh, those questions fell to the wayside and now you feel you’ve been partying too hard, too much. Here are some tips on how to reestablish some of those limits:

Buy less so you do less.

It’s cheaper to buy drugs in bulk but you might end up doing more just because it’s there, which makes it cost more when you don’t save them.

Let someone hold it for you.

Even if you buy the same amount, you can parcel off an amount you’re okay having and pass the rest to a trusted friend to hold for you. You could even invite a trusted person over and get them to hide your stash in your room, so it’s definitely safe but you don’t have easy access to it. Let them know a date when they can give it back to you or tell you where you put it.

Take Breaks.

Bump ketamine every weekend, all weekend? Pop a molly every time you leave the house? Not sure if its a problem? Than take a break for a month or few. If you are using drugs on a regular basis and think you can stop whenever you want, but you don't want to, how do you know for sure? Even not wanting to stop can be a sign of a developing addiction. If you notice a cycle it could mean that it’s time to take a break to test yourself. Plan a drug free day, weekend, week or month and see how it feels. Spend time with friends who don’t party to stay busy.

Set a limit and party within it.

Decide at the beginning of the night how much you want to do and stick to it. Tell your friends you’re good to go with what you have and that you won’t be taking them up on any generous offers. Only bring what you decided to do and when that’s gone, that’s it. You can also try lowering your dose. This could mean doing less or swapping substances (ie beers instead of vodka).

Wait until you’re sober to get high again.

Find yourself redosing before you’re sober again? And the cycle continuing way past your expected end time? Try doing something then waiting until you’re actually sober before doing another hit or even taking another drink. Decide in a sober mindset if you want to keep the party going.

Learn your family history.

If someone in your family has dealt with addiction, you’re at a heightened risk for following their path. Get a sense of where you’re coming from. Everyone deals with their use differently and just because it runs in your family, doesn’t mean you’ll inevitably have the same issues. You choose your own adventure and can absolutely take steps to control your use.

Avoid using recreational drugs for self medication.

Recreational drugs are best used for just that, recreation. Although it can be tempting to use recreational drugs to lift you up if you are feeling depressed, or chill you out if you're stressed, using to self medicate is often a slippery slope and can quickly lead to an addictive cycle. Most recreational drugs are not beneficial at all when it comes to long term regular use, and

you may find farther down the road that the symptoms you’ve been masking have been made worse by the drug or have grown because you have failed to address the problem you’re facing. 


If you think that there’s something going on with you emotionally or mentally that you can't deal with instead of using drugs to mask your problem reach out for help, talk to your doctor, speak with a counsellor, make an appointment with a psychologist or psychiatrist, talk to a peer you trust, or speak with someone who works at Trip!. You are not alone and help is out there!

Flakka: the new bath salts?

flakka           NOT          flocka

                          Flakka                                                                             Flocka


Stories of people running around naked on drugs always seems to excite the media. In 2011, it was "bath salts". In 2015, it’s Flakka. To answer the question, “Is Flakka the new bath salts?” it is important to first understand what “bath salts” really are. “Bath salts” were products sold in convenience stores and head shops falsely labeled as soothing bath products, but were in fact synthetic stimulant research chemicals (or NPS's, novel psychoactive substances). Typically these research chems were MDPV, Methylone, mephedrone and/or flakka (αlpha-PVP) or just a mix of other synthetic cathinones. These drugs were taken for their reported similarity to Cocaine and amphetamines.

"Bath salts" rose to the height of its fame when it was falsely reported in Florida that a man had taken some and turned into a blood-thirsty zombie, stripping naked and gnawing on a man’s face. Contrary to popular belief, investigators found no connection to bath salts in this incident but the Canadian government didn’t let facts get in the way of the War on Drugs. MDPV was made illegal in 2012.

But what about Flakka? Flakka is the street name for the synthetic stimulant actually known as αlpha-PVP (alpha-Pyrrolidinopentiophenone). Like "bath salts", αlpha-PVP is a synthetic cathinone. The mechanism of αlpha-PVP effects are unknown but likely similar to MDPV, and reportedly produces similar euphoric and awareness increasing effects.

Though the media has hyped αlpha-PVP as a “new” drug it’s been around since the 60s. As cheaper alternatives to classic stimulants (like MDPV, mephedrone and the like) have been made illegal, substances that were synthesized ages ago are being pulled out of the vault. The MDPV legislation does place α-pvp in schedule I, but there's still less risk to producers (who are for the most part in China).

αlpha-PVP doesn’t show up on standard reagent tests, so be wary even if you get a result you were hoping for. Early reports have suggested that the standard dose of bath salts (120mg) is way too much when dropping Flakka - that might explain the people running around naked! If you're going to use it, start with as little as 5mg. (You can always do more, but can't do less.) Any chemical active at low doses such as this should only be measured out on a very accurate and high quality scale. Eyeballing doses is extremely difficult and reckless even if you know the total amount of powder you have.

α-pvp can be found in freebase and hydrochloride form. Those who choose to vaporize/smoke their α-pvp prefer the freebase form because it can be vaporized much more efficiently. Those who snort it will prefer the salt form because it is less harmful to the nasal membrane, and less painful. Vaporizing this chemical tends to be even more habit-forming than snorting it.

Early research has shown that there’s a feeling of needing to redose, which can lead to overdoing it, so monitor your usage carefully. When taking any stimulants, it’s important to take breaks from dancing/try to sleep, try to eat something light (like rice, some fruit or soup) and stay hydrated by sipping water!      

Got some more info on Flakka or harm reduction tips?
Send them our way at

2015 Toronto Youth Drug Survey is out!

 Welcome to the TRIP! Project / / ACT Community Survey! 

This is a survey for youth who have used drugs - including alcohol,in the past year (Spring 2014-Spring 2015).

This survey helps us gather data on trends in the community so that we can serve you better. It will take around 20 minutes to complete, and we will be quizzing you on your sex and drug habits!!  Don't be afraid to spill your guts as all data will be kept confidential.  


Some may find the nature of the questions sensitive - all survey results are anonymous and attendant to the emerging diversity of populations within the party scene. 

This survey is conducted annually and is a shortened version of last year's. Please complete this survey online and circulate it as widely as possible! The survey will be live until July 2015.




5 Myths About Molly


When the Trip! Project goes on outreach at any EDM festival, all ages party or underground events, the number one question we get asked is “What is molly?” There’s been a lot of confusion around molly in particular in the party scene lately. Misinformation about what molly is, what it does, and how you can tell is everywhere. Some of these myths may seem like common sense but these are all based on actual conversations with party people on outreach. You can always find out more info about molly on Trip! or Erowid!  

  1. Myth: Molly is MDMA

Molly can mean MDMA - but a lot of times it isn’t. There are a few reasons behind this.

Pure MDMA isn’t an ideal party drug for a lot of people. You feel very cuddly, very chatty, but actually not super energized or hyped up. It’s often described as more of a chill time. This isn’t what a lot of partiers want for their cray exciting night out! This leads to molly being anywhere from a mix of MDMA and amphetamines to just plain old speed sold as molly.

Picture: life is like a cap of molly


Another reason why folks aren’t selling Molly that’s MDMA as much anymore is because the risks of selling MDMA have skyrocketed thanks to new drug prohibition legislation. In 2012, the Safe Streets and Communities Act was passed, which took MDMA from being a Schedule III drug to a Schedule I drug. The Act also added in mandatory minimums. So now anyone caught dealing MDMA gets automatic jail time. Selling MDMA is now as risky as selling heroin. So dealers are much more likely to sell a substance that is lower risk for them, like methylone. Molly is also a super popular, mainstream slang name right now. It’s easy for dealers to get rid of whatever they’re selling by just calling it molly.

You can test your molly to see what’s actually in it using a reagent test kit like the ones from Trip! (email us at, TestKitsPlus or DanceSafe.


2. Myth: Molly is a new drug

Nope! Molly has been around for a really long time. MDMA was first synthesized in the 1910s and first ingested by humans in the 1970s. There have been so many studies on MDMA’s effects as far as therapeutic treatments, harm reduction tips and trip reports. If we agree that most molly is MDMA mixed with stimulants, then people have been partying with molly (aka what used to be known as ecstasy) at parties since at least the 1980s!    


3. Myth: You can trust that dude who says "this molly is the purest stuff in the city"

First time users and partiers new to the scene beware! If someone is selling at a party, they will always tell you that their stuff is bomb - they want you to buy it and you’re not likely to be able to find them in the crowd later in the night when you’re not feeling so happy about your high (or lack thereof)! Pure molly would be pure MDMA, but without using a MDMA purity test, (the purity test is not an identification test though, and is only useful after you've used another reagent test to confirm the presence of MDMA. The purity test also requires an acurate 20mg sample size for testing, so use a good scale!) there is no way a dealer can give you good idea of the purity of their Molly. Be cautious of any dealer who says their stuff is 97.65% pure or some other whacky specific number. Ask them how they know, where they buy their kits and follow up with your own purity tests! Try to build a good relationship with your dealer and buy before the party so that you have time to make sure you got exactly what you paid for by using a test kit (or worst case can test out a bit of it beforehand). Even if someone takes 100% pure MDMA, you’re still taking a drug and there are still risks. If it wasn’t cleaned properly when it was being produced then coming up and coming down can feel super rough. Start with a small dose to get a good idea of what the Molly you have feels like. There’s also nothing wrong with doing M that is just a bunch of speed if that’s what you like! Figuring out what you’re taking before you drop can help you make better decisions about whether or not to take it.  


4. Myth: If you pop a Molly, you’ll die

MDMA, like any other drug has risks. Some folks straight up can’t metabolize MDMA in their liver. This means that for some people, even taking one dose of the purest molly might take lead to life-threatening consequences. The only way to know for sure is to get tested by a doctor to ensure that you aren’t deficient in the liver enzyme CYP2D6 (pronounced “sip-two-dee-six”). About 6-10% of the population is. However, if you know that you respond more strongly than other people to painkillers like Vicodin or other opioids, it’s a sign that you might be. Either way, if you have never taken MDMA before, and you are determined to take it, you should test yourself by taking a quarter dose first (approximately 20-25mg). If you feel anything at all at this dose, you are quite likely a poor metabolizer, and you should be very careful and always take a significantly lower dose than other people. The main deaths that have happened to people on MDMA who don’t have this enzyme deficiency have been a result of overheating, dehydration or exhaustion. That’s why it’s so important to drink water (a bottle every hour is a good amount) and take breaks from dancing to chill out.

However, sometimes the drugs being sold as Molly can have much higher risks, especially if mixed with alcohol or other drugs. Try to leave the mixing to the DJ and check in often with your friends about how you’re feeling. If you are mixing substances, it helps to have tried each substance by itself before combining them to try to minimize your chances of unexpected results.


5. Myth: Caps of Molly are safer than pressed pills

This myth has gone back and forth since forever. When pressies were going around the city, the myth was that caps were full of crap! The truth is that any cap or pill could have other drugs mixed in (sometimes called adulterants). Taking any drug recreationally is taking a risk. A similar myth about tan or brown powdered Molly being purer than white powdered molly has also been going around - and so has the reverse - the colour of the powder in your cap is not a good indication of what’s actually in it. MDMA looks different at different stages of processing/cleaning. Whether your caps are filled with white crystals to dark brown rocks or anything in between, you’ll get the most information about what you got by using a testing kit.

What some other myths you’ve heard about Molly? Let us know in the comments!

Test before you ingest!


Get test kits by emailing or from TestKitsPlus or DanceSafe.

Living Proof

When I was 11 years old, I was molested by my 76 year old neighbour.
I remember almost everything about that day. The blue pants I was wearing, the weather, the sound of a basketball bouncing outside. He said, “if you don't tell anyone, I promise never to do it again”. In a way, I think it changed my life forever. By any means, the next few years to come were hellish. Everyday as my school bus would turn the corner on to my street, I would pray, I hope, I would fumble, just asking God for my molester not to be watering his lawn as we pulled up. It felt like Russian roulette. You just never knew. All I wanted was to avoid him, but our houses were attached, and that was practically impossible.
He even came to our house for dinner. I would hide in my little brothers room. I didn't eat. I just wanted to disappear. But when you're that young, there is simply nowhere to go. So you just fold inwards, looking for something greater than yourself. Finally, when I was 17, I told my parents. It came after an incident where my molester had actually successfully kicked me out of my own house after reporting on a house party that I had thrown while my parents were away. My parents did nothing. When I told them that we should report him to the police, they said there was nothing the police could do.

Nothing the police can do. That's something that repeated itself in my mind frequently. The idea that someone could do something terrible to you, but that there was nothing anyone, not even the people charged with protecting you, could do. For years, I believed it. It's exactly for that reason that I believe that the woman who were assaulted by Jian Ghomeshi chose not to come forward sooner, because maybe they legitimately believed that there was nothing that anyone could do.

When the story out of Jian Ghomesh first came out, I had no idea who he was. Although I'm Canadian, I've spent my adult life in New York. In the beginning, I thought the story would be one quick to fade. But as articles kept filling my newsfeed, I started paying more attention. And so I came to the realization of how collectively important it was to have this story surface. To just get people talking about this stuff. Given the statistics of sexual assault, it is absolutely certain that another 11 year old child who has been the victim of sexual misconduct is watching the news, who has not told anyone yet, and who is slowly coming to realize that he or she is not alone. I want these children to know, unlike I knew when I was 11 year olds, that there is something that the police can do. I want them to know that not telling anyone is not the only to make sure that this will never happen to them again.

Jian Ghomeshi's recent arrest is living proof of that.
- Written by SC, past Trip! Project outreach worker 

Drug Induced Seizures



At a festival recently, I heard a story from a festival attendee discussing how someone in front of them started convulsing. They were shocked and immediately put their hand in the seizing person’s mouth. In their mind, they had seen a few episodes of House and figured that they were helping stop the seizing person from choking on their tongue.

The commonly held belief that someone having a seizure can choke on their tongue is absolutely a myth. The person sticking their hand in the mouth of a stranger obviously had good intentions – but they were putting both themselves and the person who was having the seizure at risk of injury and transmission of blood borne illnesses. This post will cover how you should help a person who is having a drug induced seizure and keep them (and you!) safe.

What causes a seizure?

Seizures can be triggered by epilepsy, but this post is specifically about drug induced seizures. Seizures are a common side effect after physically withdrawing from long term (or heavy binging) alcohol, ghb, benzo or barbiturate use. Seizures can also occur from most recreational drugs including: alcohol, ghb, heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, amphetamine, antidepressants, and prescription medications (even certain anti-allergy drugs and antibiotics are known to trigger seizures). They are more likely to happen when a person mixes multiple substances together, or after someone hasn’t slept in a few days and has been up partying. It’s also common for someone to have a seizure while overdosing.

FUN FACT: we all have our own personal “seizure threshold” meaning given the right conditions, it could happen to literally anyone. Along with drugs there are a few other things that can lower someones seizure threshold some of those are: not eating properly, overheating, exhaustion, sleep deprivation, an infection, flashing lights, a head injury and low blood sugar.

Here are a few things you can do to help lower your risk of having a seizure:

  • Make sure you eat a full meal before you start.

  • Stay hydrated throughout the night; alternate water with sports drinks to replenish your body's electrolytes and sugar.

  • Take rests from dancing to cool off and prevent exhaustion.

  • know your body's limit when it comes to drugs... don't over do it.

Seizures are triggered by altered electrical activity in the brain caused by complex chemical changes in nerve cells. Brain cells can become too excited or just stop communicating with other cells. Usually there is a balance of brain cells that excite and stop messages – when this balance gets out of whack and there is too much or too little activity, this chemical change can cause a surge of electrical activity, triggering a seizure.  

What is a seizure?

Seizures can look really scary or be so subtle they can be hard to identify. Often when folks think of seizures they imagine a very specific kind called a grand mal seizure. Although that kind of seizure is marked by sudden loss of consciousness and violent convulsions, there are more than twenty different types of seizures! Someone having a petit mal seizure might remain conscious and just have intense twitching or be very inattentive or zoned out for a few minutes.

What to do when someone is having a seizure

  • Stay calm. You can’t help them if you’re wigged out.

  • If you’re at a party, you can designate someone near you to go get help.

  • Move everything out of the person’s way. Are they by a table with glasses on them? Are there glass pipes lying around? Chairs? Move away everything the person might come into contact with and clear a space.

  • Encourage people to stand back and give the person lots of room. Make sure that you are not in the way of being kicked or injured by the seizing person.

  • Put something under the person’s head so that it’s not hitting the ground. You could use a coat, your sweater, your folded fluffies, whatever you have.

  • If you can, time the length of the seizure. This is helpful information for the paramedics to have.

  • Put the person in the recovery position after the seizure has stopped and wait for help to arrive.

  • Stay there and wait it out. Don’t leave the person and check in with them after.

  • Don’t hold their head or limbs this can lead to injuries to either you or them.

Remember: it’s a myth that someone can choke on their own tongue. Don’t ever try to put anything in a seizing person’s mouth (like a wallet or water and definitely not your hands!). Anything you put in their mouths can be a choking hazard.  

When to call an ambulance

  • If the person is seizing and overdosing

  • If the person has two or more seizures without regaining consciousness between them

  • If the person takes longer than 15 minutes to regain consciousness

  • If it’s the person’s first seizure

Following up with a doctor is always a good idea, just to rule out things other than substance use, like tumours or viruses.

Some folks can be prone to having drug induced seizures and know the specific substances that could set them off. Be sure to tell your friends if you have a history of seizures before you start partying and what they can do if it happens. In many cases, a properly handled seizure is not life threatening and just another risk to be aware of when you’re partying hard.

Testing Kits - Drug Checking

Testing kits can help you identify what a substance is so you can decide how or if you want to take it. When getting drugs from someone or the internet you can't be 100% sure what it really is, even if it's from a friend. You can use a testing kit to get more info!

Email us at info(at)tripproject(dot)ca to get more info about picking up your kit in person from downtown Toronto or you can order them directly online here


Just say KNOW!  

Increasing the Purity of Street Drugs

If you do synthetic street drugs that are sold as powder, crystals, or pills, the following techniques for "cleaning" drugs may be of interest to you.

One of the simpler methods of purifying your drugs is called an alcohol wash. The premise is that some impurities/cuts will not dissolve as much in alcohol as the actual drug. This works especially well with coke, since it is very soluble in alcohol. It will remove some but not all of the levamisole/tetramisole in coke.

Supplies: Drugs to clean, 2 clean glass or ceramic containers, lab or coffee filters, something to measure small quantities of liquid with (usually you can get a free 10ml oral syringe from any major pharmacy chain by asking for one), internet access, and the purest alcohol you can get. if you can have somebody bring it in from out of province or the U.S, pure ethanol over 90% is best. Sold as Alcool Global 94% in Quebec, Everclear/Spirytus 95/96% in the U.S. Next best is 99% isopropyl alcohol from a pharmacy, make sure it's 99%, not normal rubbing alcohol. After that, some LCBOs sell a 75.5% proof Spirytus, don't get Bacardi 151 unless you want your drugs to have non-alcoholic rum residue in them. In a pinch, normal vodka will work but not nearly as well as those above, and you'll lose a lot more of whatever you're cleaning to the process.

How much alcohol you'll use will depend on what you're cleaning, and how soluble it is in the solvent you've got. For example, cocaine HCl (which is what you'll have if you bought coke that isn't rocked up into crack) is soluble in water at 1.8 grams per millilitre of distilled water, that means every millilitre of water can dissolve 1.8 grams of coke. In pure ethanol (drinking alcohol) it takes 3.2ml to dissolve a gram. That means, in 94% alcohol, you'll need about 2.8ml per gram, just call it 3ml since you'll lose a bit to evaporation and the sides of your container. If you have a toaster oven, set it for about 150F, cover the top of your container with a glass plate, and wait for it to come up to temperature. The plate will have to sit flush with the container so the alcohol doesn't escape. Heating the alcohol is optional, but will improve your results. If you do heat it, make sure you pick up the container with oven mits or a folded towel, because it will be hot. While hot, dissolve your coke in the alcohol and stir to help it dissolve. You can then let it cool to room temperature and pour it through your filter into the other container. Before pouring, wet the filter paper with a bit of alcohol that doesn't have coke in it. Anything less soluble than coke will now be left in the filter, and your cleaner coke will be in the alcohol. Pour the alcohol onto a flat plate and let it sit until it evaporates, which will leave behind your coke. You can use light heat to help it evaporate faster, but make sure it's under 175F and absolutely no open flames. Once it's almost dry, chop it up finely and let it sit for another 48 hours to get all of the alcohol out, especially if you used alcohol not meant for drinking. It may look like a weird white paste before it's completely dry, don't be alarmed if that happens.

To wash other drugs with alcohol, just look up how soluble they are in the solvent you're using (liquid that you'll be dissolving your drugs in) and adjust the figures accordingly. If the solubility is lower than 30ml per gram it's probably not worth doing.

Another method of cleaning your drugs is called an acetone wash. This will improve the purity of most drugs if done correctly, but will not get rid of most cuts that are drugs themselves. If your mdma has speed, PMA, lidocaine, etc. in it that will still be in it at the end. This is best for getting rid of things that whomever manufactured your drugs left behind due to greed, laziness, or incompetence. It will also get rid of caffeine. If you have mdma that's dark brown and smells strongly, it will be white and mostly odourless when you're done. Warning: Acetone is very flammable, unhealthy to breathe in, and it dissolves paint, varnish, plastic and styrofoam among other things. Keep away from open flames, keep a window open, and only use clean glass, ceramic, or metal containers. This does not work for any drugs that are in freebase form, like crack or DMT.

Supplies: Acetone (available at most hardware stores. Make sure the container just says it has acetone in it, don't just get any bottle from the paint thinners sections). To test if your acetone is clean, pour a little bit onto a clean glass/ceramic/metal surface and see if it leaves residue behind when it evaporates. If it doesn't, you're good. Epsom salts (should be available at most pharmacies, make sure they're unscented and not sea salt/ something else). An oven or toaster oven, coffee filters, clean glass/ceramic containers, and a mortar and pestle.

First you're going to want to "dry" your acetone. Dry acetone means it has no water in it, water is bad because even a little bit will cause you to lose some of your drugs. To do this, crush up epsom salts in your mortar and pestle and put them in the oven on high for 3-4 hours. This will take all the water out of the epsom salts, and they will now absorb water from the atmosphere, or your acetone. Put the equivalent of roughly 1/5 of your container of acetone in dried epsom salts into the acetone container. Give it a good shaking for about a minute, and let it sit for a day. You now have dry acetone. Don't shake the container before using and pour slowly from the top layer so you don't pour out epsom salts with it. Pour it through a coffee filter to make sure you don't get any epsom salt in your drugs. If you have a glass eyedropper and patience, it's better to just use that to siphon acetone off the top and leave all the epsom salt at the bottom. Crush your drugs finely, and depending on how much you're washing put them in an acetone friendly container of appropriate size. Probably a shot glass. Then pour your filtered, dry acetone on top, enough to cover your drugs plus a little room at the top. The acetone will absorb impurities and some cuts, but not your drugs. Stir it around a bit with an acetone friendly utensil, (glass or metal) and let it sit for maybe 10 minutes. Then take a clean container with a new coffee filter on it, and wet the coffee filter with a bit of acetone. You can then pour in the contents of your shot glass. Save the coffee filter and scrape any residue from the shot glass. Let the acetone evaporate off and you can then retrieve your drugs from the coffee filter. If you're curious, you can also let all the acetone from the other container evaporate which will leave behind all the impurities that were removed, otherwise just dispose of it or keep it in a closed container to reuse later.

If you apply both of these techniques to your drugs they will become even cleaner. Keep in mind these techniques only work if what you bought as MDMA/coke/whatever actually contains MDMA/coke/whatever. If you wash a mystery E pill you'll still have mystery powder at the end, albeit cleaner mystery powder.

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