Safety & Risks
A psychedelic journey can present risks (1, 2), but there are ways to prepare and sources of help. First-time users of a psychedelic substance should absolutely NOT journey alone. For safety, journey only with a well-informed friend(s) or trusted professional(s).
A free help hotline for those having a difficult or challenging experience while using psychedelics. Call 1-62-FIRESIDE (1-623-473-7433) or download the app, through which you can text or call.
Montgomery County Harm Reduction Brochure
The brochure contains information on obtaining Naloxone free of charge from the county.
A dedicated community non-profit organization that implements public health services and advocates for policies to expand harm reduction in Baltimore and greater Maryland. Click the name for their website or follow them on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter for harm reduction information and events, many of which can be accessed online.
DrugsData is the independent laboratory drug analysis program of Erowid Center. Launched in July 2001, its purpose is to collect, manage, review, and present laboratory drug analysis results. The information is made publicly available to help harm-reduction efforts, medical personnel, and researchers.
Testing substances is required for a safe journey. See the testing links on the resource page.
Other risks that have been associated with psychedelics is the triggering of latent mental health conditions and other side effects like Hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD)
There are two reasons one should consider testing their drugs/medicines before using them:
1) To confirm the presence of the desired medicine, and
2) To ensure that there are no harmful adulterants in the medicine.
The leading cause of death for Americans aged 18 to 45 is currently opioid overdose (Refs 2, 3), largely due to the presence of fentanyl and its analogs in the unregulated drug supply. Often fatal when ingested, this adulterant has been found in non-opioid drugs including MDMA and ketamine. While mushrooms and plant medicines are unlikely to be contaminated, their illegal status makes it possible. Consider testing each batch of drugs for the presence of fentanyl and having a naloxone nasal spray on hand to protect yourself and others.
Antidote to opioid overdose
If an individual is overdosing from fentanyl or another opioid, administering the naloxone nasal spray to them will save their life. Everyone who uses drugs, or is in contact with someone who does, should have access to a naloxone nasal spray, and know how to use it. Narcan sprays are available for free from several sources (including https://nextdistro.org/maryland), and pharmacies in Maryland are required to provide them without a prescription.
Fentanyl Test Strips
Checking drugs for presence of Fentanyl
With the leading cause of death for Americans ages 18 to 45 now being opioid overdose (Refs 2, 3), drug users should consider testing each batch or lot of drugs be tested for the presence of Fentanyl. This extremely strong opioid is the major cause of the current overdose-death trends. Order these inexpensive test strips and more from one of the sources listed below:
Positive Drug Tests
Confirming presence of desired drug
Due to the unregulated nature of the underground drug market, unscrupulous dealers can profit from selling other chemicals as psychedelic medicines. For example, cathinones are dangerous "bath salts" that are often substituted for MDMA; consuming them may have stimulating effects, but will not yield euphoria or empathogenic effects and can lead to psychosis (4). It is important to use at-home tests to confirm the presence of your desired substance, when possible. At-home kits to test for the presence of mescaline, MDMA, LSD, ketamine and more are available to order online (for example, from https://dancesafe.org/ or https://bunkpolice.com/).