March 26, 2019 6:00 am

Your drugs may have drugs in them: safety group finding meth in cocaine, other drugs

Cocaine seized by police.

Cocaine seized by police.

RCMP Manitoba / File

Even if you’re not a meth user, you could be unwittingly consuming the substance if you take other drugs.

A group of Winnipeg nurses testing drugs at clubs says about 25 per cent of the MDMA and cocaine they come across contains meth.

Project Safe Audience is an organization that travels to difference clubs and raves to help people party more safely, and the project’s Bryce Koch said while his group doesn’t condone substance use, their work is to help reduce harm.

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“The research behind trying to get people to do an abstinence-based policy when it comes to substance use is not working,” Koch told 680 CJOB.

“We’re working with people are not choosing to stop taking these substances, but want to take the steps to make themselves safer. So we set up a booth at these events and we have people who self-disclose to us that they are using substances and want us to have their substance checked.”

READ MORE: Five arrested, $120,000 in cocaine seized in Winnipeg trafficking bust

Koch said his group has primarily seen meth appearing in cocaine, although Project Safe Audience also tests MDMA and LSD for foreign substances, including fentanyl.

“It’s mainly the cocaine we see it quite frequently in, and it’s because meth has a similar effect to cocaine, it just lasts much longer,” he said.

“A lot of people are thinking what they have is good cocaine, but what it is, is just methamphetamine that lasts longer in their system.

“If you’re expecting one substance and you end up taking something else, it can be a very traumatic experience.”

Koch said he thinks the reason dealers cut things like cocaine with meth is simple economics. Meth, he said, is dirt cheap and widely available, well cocaine is considerably more expensive and has to be shipped in from far-away places.

Although the drugs Project Safe Audience is testing are obviously illegal, Koch said the group is trying to help people stay safe, not to judge them for their choices.

“These are people too, and these are people who make these decisions for themselves,” he said.

“To be honest, we look at people who consume alcohol – and that’s a pretty destructive drug in itself, but people still take that one – and we treat those people with respect and offer them services. Really, a population is defined by how it treats its most needy members, and I’d rather be on the side of the population that helps people who need it most.”

WATCH: ‘Illicit drugs draw no borders’: WPS says drugs in all areas of city

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