Most people who use illegal drugs are seeking the “purest” form of the drug.  Many, if not most, illicit drugs contain adulterants which are substances used to increase the weight, potency, and even mimic the effect of the drug itself.  With every new drug trend there are reports of even more ‘pure’ versions of the drug being distributed.  Heroin, cocaine, and MDMA (a.k.a. Molly) are drugs that are being described as being more pure than what was shipped and sold in previous years. However, most people who abuse drugs know little to nothing about the purity of the drug they are abusing.
 
                                                                                                                                            Photo: pure cocaine
 
          The Serious Organized Crime Agency in the United Kingdom describes recent trends of more and more substances being included in drug manufacturing.  Their website discusses how cutting agents are being imported to use in heroin production and how common cutting agents include prescription drugs like Paracetamol. Paracetamol is used as a pain reliever and fever reducer in over the counter drugs. Paracetamol can also cause liver and kidney failure when too much of the drug is taken. Other adulterants used in cocaine include Benzocaine (which is a local anesthetic used in cough drops) and Levamisole which is used to increase volume. Levamisole is also used as a de-worming agent by veterinarians. Another adulterant commonly used in drugs is PMA (para-Methoxyamphetamine) which is used to cut ecstasy.  PMA is an amphetamine, but it also has some psychedelic properties that may cause hallucinations.  A September article in Time magazine by Maia Szalavitz discusses how some deaths were first attributed to MDMA, but they were actually caused by PMA. 

          Many people take drugs without knowing the full effects and consequences of the drug they are taking. Taking any illicit drug is now akin to playing Russian roulette with your health, mind, and life.  There is no true pure form of any drug because most drug dealers will cut their drugs with other substances to increase the potency or volume of the drug. Drugs found on the streets are rarely “pure”.