Frequently Asked Questions
What is community drug checking, and why should it be done?
Community Drug checking is a process that allows people to submit drug samples for chemical analysis of what substances are in their drugs. Knowing what substances are present allows people who use drugs to make educated decisions about their drug use and how to reduce related harms. For more information, go to Drug Checking.
Where are drug checking programs located, and how do I find one?
Harm reduction agencies provide drug checking services in many countries around the world. For a list of organizations that may provide services near you, check out this list of drug checking agencies on the How to submit a sample page.
Is community drug checking legal?
The legality of different methods of drug checking varies by country and state. For information on laws related to drug checking in your state, check out this legal analysis of drug checking equipment. Another helpful resource is DanceSafe’s state-by-state guide.
How can I submit a sample for testing?
Submitting a sample will include providing a small amount of a drug or leftover residue, along with some information. In Massachusetts the process is free, although other organizations may charge fee. For more details on how to submit a sample, including sample criteria and where to bring it, check out the How to submit a sample page.
How do I get the results, and how long will it take?
Initial results may be provided to you within 30 minutes of submitting a sample. Different organizations have different capacities for drug checking and providing results. It may take up to a few days or weeks to receive results, and comprehensive results may take 2-3 weeks after the sample is received. If using Streetcheck, a unique QR or alphanumeric identification code is provided for each sample. Notification when results are ready will be sent to the email address or phone number provided when submitting the sample. You can also use the same code to look up results on Streetcheck. Visit the How to submit a sample page for more information.
Is drug checking with StreetCheck confidential?
Yes. When you submit your sample, some details such as where it was bought, what it was sold as, and use experience will be collected. However, personal information will not be collected, and the identification or QR code you receive will be the only connection between you and the sample.
I'm a provider/staff and have a sample I'm urgently concerned about. How can I get it tested ASAP?
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can work with you for responsive testing. Please be advised: ours is a public health and harm reduction service, though, not a diagnostic, clinical, or forensic testing service.
How are results used?
Results from StreetCheck are reported to the public, as well as to public health agencies and organizations. They are combined across programs, towns, and regions to identify trends in drug use and in drug makeup for harm reduction planning in public health and public policy actions. Results are regularly analyzed and shared with the community and at StreetCheck to raise awareness of these trends at the town, region, and state levels.
Who else sees this information?
When samples are sent for additional laboratory testing to Erowid Center's DrugsData or other partner lab (see below), some information about the makeup of the sample is available to the public. However, any individual or potentially identifying information provided to StreetCheck remains private. You will be able to see details of any sample that you submit by using the QR or identification code associated with your sample(s). The partner organization you submitted your sample(s) through will also be able to see details of your sample, but as no identifying information is collected, they will not be able to trace the information back to you unless you opt for this to happen. To generate trends, data are combined and reported with everyone else’s for the public to see.
What instruments are used for drug checking?
Programs may use different instruments. The MADDS Project uses fentanyl and benzodiazepine test strips, pH test strips, and FTIR for preliminary testing. If your sample is sent away, it will also be tested by GC/MS for more comprehensive results. For more information on the kinds of instruments used in drug checking, see the Drug Checking page, this article, or Erowid Center's DrugsData.
This table includes laboratories that are currently used for off-site drug checking
and contributing data to StreetCheck. You can access this table here.
What's That Substance?
Come across a substance that you're unsure about? Check out our digital repository of informational recordings to learn more about common substances that have appeared via community drug checking and produced in collaboration with Access HOPE.