May 28


Ketamine drug testing using an on-site urine Ketamine test

Drug-Aware have just launched a brand-new Ketamine test which can detect Ketamine use from a urine sample in just minutes. Drug testing for a range of drugs has been possible for many years, but Ketamine testing is a relatively new requirement from our client base. However, with the surging levels of Ketamine abuse it has been necessary to develop a test which can detect the drug in just minutes.

Our on-site urine Ketamine test is FDA approved, CE marked and gives results in just five minutes to a degree that is similar in accuracy to laboratory screen.

Ketamine Slang Terms or Street Names

Ketamine slang terms or street names include Ketaject, Special K, Vitamin K, new Ecstasy, psychedelic heroin, Ketaject, and Super-K.

Ketamine Effects, Information and Facts

Ketamine hydrochloride is a central nervous system depressant and a fast-acting general anaesthetic with sedative-hypnotic, analgesic, and hallucinogenic properties. Used as a general anaesthetic in both human and veterinary medical practice, Ketamine is normally found in injectable form. However, it can be converted into a white powder (for snorting or smoking) and re-packaged in small sealed bags or capsules. Street names include Special K, Vitamin K, new Ecstasy, psychedelic heroin, Ketaject, and Super-K.

Buy a Ketamine Test

To order a Ketamine urine drug test, visit our order page and select single drug tests.

Ketamine and the Law

Ketamine is a class C drug in the UK.

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Jun 30

Drug Misuse – the Hazard of Dirty Needles

A public hazard facing many councils across the UK is the discarding of dirty needles, syringes and other drug-related litter (DRL) in public places such as public toilets, car parks, bus stations, residential streets, playparks, footpaths and churchyards and beaches.  In an alleyway behind one street dubbed ‘Crack Alley’ in Derbyshire (UK), over the course of one weekend in 2006 an alleged 1100 needles were recovered during a clean-up operation.  On an average weekend, between 200 and 300 used needles were reportedly routinely cleared up from this location.

Risks from Needles

Such syringes are commonly referred to as “sharps” which is the collective name for hyperdermic needles, syringes, razors and other objects that have the potential to puncture someone and infect them.  Blood borne diseases which may be passed include HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

The fear the general public has regarding discarded needles may be compounded by a lack of basic knowledge about illegal drugs and further reinforced by urban myths or hoax emails citing untrue and far-fetched stories of an unfortunate person sitting on an infected needle purposefully placed point upwards on a cinema seat, or being punctured by an infected needle left in the returned change slot of a pay phone. The fear of what many people know very little about can be partly dispelled with a basic knowledge – in this case about drugs, drug users and their habits, and what to do in the case of finding a needle or being injured by one.

What should you do if you find a dirty needle?

What should you do if you find a dirty needle?  In general, advice is NOT TO TOUCH a discarded needle or syringe and if you are a child, report your find to an adult such as your teacher, a police officer or your parents as soon as possible.  If sharps are found on council owned property, they have a duty to have them removed and will often have a sharps removal kit which includes a proper sharps disposal bin and staff will be trained to handle this type of waste removal safely.

If there is an immediate danger such as children playing and the syringe must be removed at once, do not hide it, kick it down a drain, flush it down a toilet, throw it in a dustbin or into a fireplace.  Never touch the sharp with your bare hands.  If possible, put on some heavy duty gloves and pick up the item using tongs at arms length (never scissors), or sweep up with a dustpan and brush, sweeping away from the body.

Syringes should be picked up by the middle of the barrel and tipped needle end first into a plastic or metal container, preferably with a lid.  If necessary, use a hard plastic bottle or a drinks can.  Wash hands thoroughly afterwards.

Needlestick Injuries

Whilst we aren’t able to give medical advice, the common information on the internet states: If a puncture wound has occurred, try not to panic.  Encourage bleeding by squeezing gently for a couple of minutes, do not suck the wound, wash thoroughly with soap and water for five minutes and attend the accident and emergency ward at your nearest hospital as soon as possible so that further advice and immunisation can be offered.

Needle Exchange

Needle and Syringe Exchange programmes are a positive step towards reducing discarded used needles and helping injecting drug users to handle their addiction responsibly and without causing danger to other members of the public.  Needle Exchanges aim to provide new and unused needles to injecting drug users to prevent them from sharing dirty ones and also to offer proper disposal bins for used needles.  This service is provided in a number of easily accessible places including high street chemists such as Boots and even selected pharmacies within large supermarkets like Sainsburys.

If you have any questions about addiction, visit our Tackling Drug Addiction for Friends and Families page or our home drug test FAQ page.  Alternatively, visit our workplace drug testing page for more information for employers.  We offer drug awareness training and drugs and alcohol policy development services.

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Jun 30

LSD – Drug Information, Facts and Awareness

What is LSD?

LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide) is known by street names such as as acid, blotter, lucy, smilies, paper mushrooms, stars, tabs, M, window panes, sunshine or trips.  It is a semi-synthetic psychedelic drug which originates from ergot, a type of grain fungus that typically grows on rye and is the most widely known of the hallucinogenic drugs.  It is an extremely potent and an illegal Class A drug in the UK, carrying a penalty of up to seven years imprisonment and an unlimited fine or both for possession, and up to life imprisonment and an unlimited fine or both for supply or dealing, even if this is without charge and between friends.

How is LSD Taken? and what does LSD look like?

LSD is usually taken orally.  This drug may come in the form of a liquid solution which is odourless, colourless and slightly bitter to the taste, and is sold in small vials. It was formerly distributed largely in pill form (frequently called microdots) and small squares of gelatine known as window panes, but the most common form of LSD is now blotting paper which comprises a sheet of blotting paper impregnated with the liquid drug solution, dried, and perforated like a sheet of stamps into small squares measuring a quarter of an inch square called ‘tabs’ or ‘hits’ which are currently sold individually at a street cost in the UK of approximately £1 to £5.  The ‘tabs’ of paper are then swallowed or placed on the tongue to absorb the drug.

These sheets of squares often bear a psychedelic print or ‘blotter art’ with various illustrations on them such as strawberries, cartoons, aliens, geometric patterns, angels, Alice in Wonderland, depictions of the Swiss chemist Dr Albert Hofmann (who first created LSD in 1938) – and even Elvis Presley.  The design is sometimes used to denote the manufacturer, batch or strength of the drug.  It is estimated that since the mid 1970’s over 350 different prints have been produced.

LSD and the Government

LSD is widely known as a powerful hallucinogenic drug and was used internationally in an experimental capacity in the 1950’s and 1960’s by Governments to explore the possibilities of mind control, interrogation and social engineering.  Military studies were even carried out to evaluate LSD as a weapon.

The Effects of LSD

Effects of taking the drug are usually experienced between 30 minutes to an hour after taking LSD and can last for up to 12 hours.  Outward physical symptoms can be minimal, but may include dilation of the pupils, an increase in body temperature and blood pressure, sweating, sleeplessness, tremors and a dry mouth.

More dramatically, the psycho-emotional effects include visual hallucinations, delusions, an altered sense of time and space, a ‘crossover’ of the senses including sound and vision (called synesthesia) so that a user may experience hearing colours or seeing sounds, seeing straight lines as curved, static objects as moving, or ordinary objects such as faces or flowers ‘morphing’ or ‘melting’ into something entirely different and not always necessarily pleasant.  Heightened religious and spiritual experiences may be encountered and a sense that a greater ‘truth’ about life or oneself has been discovered.

A bad ‘trip’ can result in total panic or severe depression, fear of death, fear of insanity and a feeling of being trapped in a very bad dream with no control.  Rather than flowers or pretty colours, one may see demons, monsters or believe that friends can not be trusted or are thinking badly of them.  Whether a trip is bad or good is largely dependant on the expectations, the mood and environment of the user when they take the drug.  Generally speaking, LSD will amplify the current mood from contented to euphoric but potentially also from mild depression to terror.

Drug Information: The Dangers of LSD

More disturbingly, research suggests that underlying mental disorders hitherto not exposed may be triggered in an otherwise mentally healthy person causing lasting psychological ill effects.  More frequently, flashbacks of a trip are reported by users which can occur days, weeks or even years after the drug experience.  Many drug users report that just one tab can produce a single experience that changes their mind-set forever (whether good or bad), consolidating the general opinion that LSD is indeed a mind-altering drug even in the long term.

So – do people die from taking LSD?  The answer, as with most if not all illegal drugs is yes.  However, this is not usually a result of an overdose.  As a result of its large index of toxicity, a huge concentration of LSD is required before death results by overdose.  The US Drug Enforcement Administration reports that tabs seized contain on average of 20mcg – 80mcg LSD each which is a relatively low potency bearing in mind that a lethal dose of LSD has been estimated to be 14,000 mcg.  In the case of a massive overdose, coma, bleeding disorders and respiratory arrest may occur.  It should also be noted that pregnant women should never ever take LSD as it causes uterine contractions which could result in premature delivery and loss of their baby.

The most common danger lies in what is known as behavioural toxicity – uncharacteristic or abnormal behaviours brought about by drug use.  These may be perceived as negative, such as suicidal tendencies, or positive, such as feeling superhuman – but both can be equally as dangerous and lead users to behave in a dangerous, irrational and sometimes fatal manner.

Is LSD Addictive?

LSD is not considered to be physically addictive because although tolerance levels can be built up whereby more of the drug is required to facilitate a trip, the compulsive drug-seeking behaviours of drugs such as cocaine, heroin or alcohol are not brought about by use.

Drug Testing – Testing for LSD

Whilst many other illegal drugs such as heroin, cocaine and cannabis / marijuana can be detected at home using a home drug test, LSD is not detectable in this way as the concentrations of the drug are too low to be detected by a visually read diagnostic test kit and a laboratory test is required to screen for LSD abuse.

For more information on home drug testing kits, please visit our home drug test FAQ page.  Alternatively, for information on drug testing in the workplace, visit our workplace drug testing page.

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Jun 10

Record Opium Harvest in Afghanistan

Afghanistan has just had the largest opium harvest in it’s history – which will have a significant ongoing impact on the volume of Heroin that will be hitting the streets across the globe.

Officials from the USA have increased their efforts to convince the government of Afghanistan to begin spraying herbicide on opium poppies – an action that many believe will help reduce the opium production but could affect the stability of the region by dividing the government there.

According to United Nations estimates, Afghanistan now produces an amazing 93 percent of the entire world’s opiates. Since the American-led invasion in 2001, its drug revenues have grown exponentially because more traffickers are also processing opium into heroin there.

In August 2007, a United Nations report recorded a 17 percent increase in poppy cultivation from 2006 to 2007 and a 34 percent growth in opium production. The issue is even more recognisable in the southern province of Helmand, a Taliban stronghold. Almost 4,400 metric tons of opium were produced in Helmand this year, which based on current UN statistics is almost half of Afghanistan’s overall output.

The government of Afghanistan’s opium eradication efforts have failed to keep up with this growth. Their efforts were responsible for cutting down about 47,000 acres of poppy fields this year, which although 24 percent more than last year is still less than 9 percent of the country’s overall poppy crop.

Street prices of Heroin have fallen over the last few years, making this harmful drug even easier to obtain by young people – in fact, the average starting age of Heroin use in many UK cities is just 15. Consequently, Afghanistan’s failure to adequately deal with this issue will have a global cost which will unfortunately be paid by young people who are drawn into experimentation.

This surge in Heroin production will also affect the workplace, where substance misuse already has a clear impact on accident rates, ill health, absenteeism and reduced productivity. Visit our workplace drug testing page for more information or read our home drug tests FAQ section.

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Jun 09

Cocaine Information – Facts, Signs and Symptoms

Cocaine information: Drug addiction can transcend all social and economic divides. In fact, drug addiction does not differentiate between nationality, rich or poor, young or old, male or female, a celebrity or the ‘average Joe’ in the street – none more so than with the use of cocaine, the second most widely used illegal drug with over 12 million users in Europe and the Americas alone and a global annual potential production of 984 metric tons in the year 2006 (source: the World Drug Report 2007.)

Powdered Cocaine and Crack Cocaine

As a potent and highly addictive drug, the physical and psychological symptoms of cocaine abuse will be the same whether the drug addict is a teen or a geriatric, a politician, a top model, a lawyer or a burger-flipper.

Cocaine and the Law

In the UK, cocaine is a Class A drug and dealing or supplying cocaine (even free of charge to a friend) can result in up to life in prison, an unlimited fine or both. Possession may incur a penalty of up to seven years in prison, an unlimited fine or both.

Cocaine and the Workplace

A recent survey by Narcotics Anonymous showed that out of 2000 callers, over 70% of cocaine users were in full time employment, and that alarmingly 44% had supplied cocaine to their colleagues within the workplace. Substance misusers are 3.6 times more likely to have an accident while at work so this is of great concern to any employers. For information on drug testing, visit our workplace drug testing page or our home drug test FAQ page.

Cocaine Information: Slang Names for Cocaine

The street names for cocaine constantly evolve and today’s name may be tomorrow’s old news, but slang names may include Charlie, Big C, White, White Horse or White Lady, Percy, Coke, Snow, Toot, Blow, Bernie, Nose Candy, Bump, Chalk, Cecil, Flake, Dust, Monster, Paradise, Boy, Girl and Witch.

How is Cocaine used?

Cocaine is derived from the coca plant (Erythroxylon coca) native to South America which can taken in a variety of ways – sniffed or snorted, inhaled, smoked, injected or even chewed in the form of coca leaves.

Types of Cocaine

The type of cocaine most commonly used in the UK is the white crystalline powder called cocaine hydrochloride which is often pure cocaine adulterated with fillers such as flour, baking soda, sugars such as glucose or creatine, talcum powder or other local anaesthetics such as lidocaine. It is usually sold in vials or in wraps or packets made from paper, plastic or aluminium foil.

This type of cocaine is most commonly ‘snorted’ or ‘sniffed’ in the Western world, a process properly known as insufflation, whereby cocaine is absorbed through the mucous membranes of the nasal passages. Any cocaine not directly absorbed is trapped in the mucous and swallowed easily because this form of cocaine is highly water-soluble.

The image of white ‘lines’ of this substance may well be familiar (also called ‘rails’ or ‘bumps’) that are chopped and sliced with a razor on a hard surface like a mirror or a toilet seat and then snorted through a tube or other devices commonly called ‘tooters’, often a rolled bank note, a drinking straw, the casing of a biro pen or long fingernails. At celebrity gatherings in London, it is reputed that sterling silver drinking straws were a fashionable party accessory for models which prevented their lipstick from coming off on drinking glasses and, when occasion invited, doubled as a ‘designer’ tooter. After snorting a line, the residue is sometimes tamped onto fingers and rubbed onto the gums which has a numbing effect due to the anaesthetic properties of cocaine.

Freebase is a base form of cocaine, having had the hydrochloride salt and most of the adulterants removed in a dangerous process involving the use of explosive chemicals such as ether. Freebase is insoluble in water and cannot be snorted, inhaled or injected and is therefore only smoked.

Crack cocaine is a form of ready-to-use freebase, so-called because of the ‘cracking’ noise it makes when heated. It is produced by heating a mixture of cocaine powder with baking powder (sodium bicarbonate) or ammonia and water. Upon cooling, this cocaine takes the form of hard pellets or small ‘rocks’ of a creamy white through to a beige colour according to purity and method of preparation. It is often sold in plastic bags or little vials, each one containing enough for two or three inhalations. Freebase and crack is usually smoked through a pipe made from a glass tube with a mesh or steel / copper wool at the bottom or even an empty soft drinks can with a perforated base. A flame held close to the rock produces a vapour which is then inhaled by the user. It can also be placed in silver foil.

Smoking freebase or crack cocaine enables a very rapid rush and subsequent high, as the cocaine enters the blood stream via the lungs, reaching the brain within a matter of seconds.

Cocaine taken by injection also reaches the brain within seconds. The powdered drug is usually mixed with water and administered by syringe directly into the bloodstream. It is also popular to inject cocaine along with another drug, such as heroin, to make what in this instance is known as a speedball. This combination is particularly dangerous and has been implicated in many deaths including famous individuals such as John Belushi and River Pheonix. Injecting cocaine is often more potent than smoking it because the entire amount directly enters the body as opposed to some escaping in vapours during the smoking process or not being released to its optimum during the heating of the crystal.

Cocaine can be taken orally, although in the developed world this is quite rare. As well as being rubbed onto the gum-line, more harmfully cocaine can be swallowed as powder wrapped in paper, colloquially called a ‘snow bomb’. Some indigenous peoples in the Andes still traditionally chew the leaves or make into coca tea to relieve hunger and combat altitude sickness. In the late nineteenth century the famous drink Coca-Cola was so-called because one of its key ingredients was a liquid extract of the coca leaf along with the Kola nut and did in fact contain cocaine. To this day Coca-Cola includes a non-narcotic extract of the coca leaf.

Cocaine and Addiction

So why is cocaine so addictive? In brief, the drug stimulates the central nervous system, interfering with the reward centres in the brain which are associated with the basic needs to eat, drink and have sexual intercourse. In tests on animals, the addictive nature of the drug is demonstrated by the animal seeking the drug in preference to food and water, even in times of extreme hunger and thirst.

This, in part, is due to the way cocaine diverts the normal path of dopamine, a chemical which affects brain processes which control, amongst other things, the ability to experience pleasure. Cocaine binds itself to the proteins which normally transport dopamine and facilitate its re-uptake, so the dopamine is forced instead to build up in the synapse, extending and hugely amplifying the natural sensations of pleasure to create a forced euphoria – an artificial ‘high’.

Cocaine Signs and Symptoms of Abuse

The intense high from a cocaine hit can be within seconds and the ‘crash’ or ‘comedown’ can be devastating, resulting in the immediate and overwhelming desire to take more. Furthermore, an addict can gain a tolerance to cocaine, requiring larger amounts more frequently to achieve the strength of their former cocaine induced euphoria.

Symptoms of cocaine use may include but are not limited to increased energy and mental alertness, hyperactivity and possibly tremors, euphoria, talkativeness, rapid pulse and raised breathing rate, raised body temperature and blood pressure, a runny or stuffy nose and occasionally a bleeding nose, a decrease in appetite, an inflated sense of power or strength, confusion, paranoia, panic and anxiety, hallucinations and dilated pupils. After-effects of cocaine use may be lethargy, intense sleepiness and often depression.

Cocaine Addiction, Withdrawal Symptoms and Overdose

Symptoms of cocaine addiction may include physical problems such as severe loss of appetite and weight loss, nausea, headaches, abdominal pain, neglect of other bodily needs and personal hygiene, mood swings and psychotic behaviours, cardiac problems, collapse of the nasal septum (in the case of repeated snorting of cocaine) and a constantly runny nose, and social problems including neglect of family or work responsibilities, change of friends and other normal social contacts, possibly stealing or selling personal possessions to fund a drug habit and keeping antisocial hours.

A cocaine overdose can cause heart attack or seizures, brain haemorrhage due to increased blood pressure, dangerous rise in body temperature, renal failure, delirium, convulsions and death. Many of these things can occur even after just one use of the drug – a cocaine-induced heart attack or full respiratory failure can occur in a first time user or an addict with an established tolerance.

Cocaine Drug Testing

Cocaine is detectable in the body in urine for typically 2 to 4 days and possibly up to five days after use using drug testing kits.

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