What’s in the drugs that are being tested at Australia’s first fixed-site pill testing clinic in the ACT?


Key points:

  • Five hundred samples have been collected by CanTEST since it opened in July this year
  • The latest results have revealed some drugs contain children’s cough medicine, pre-work out supplements and pesticide
  • The six-month pilot program is in its fifth month

From workout supplements in cocaine to children’s cough medicine in MDMA — Australia’s first fixed-site pill testing clinic has found some unusual ingredients in drugs.

A total of 500 samples have been tested at CanTEST in Canberra’s CBD since it opened in July as a drug-harm minimisation bid from the ACT government. 

The clinic recently saw an increase in visitors and extended opening hours when the music festival Spilt Milk came to town a few weeks ago.

More than 135 drug samples were tested in November at CanTEST and the clinic continues to uncover new properties of the drugs sampled.

Canberra’s pill-testing service discovers deadly substance in counterfeit oxycodone tablets


Key points:

  • A potent, synthetic opioid has been detected in Canberra
  • The substance is linked to an epidemic of fatal overdoses in North America
  • The government urges Canberrans who bought yellow tablets, thinking they were oxycodone, to dispose of the drugs

Canberra’s free pill-testing service has found a dangerous substance linked to fatal overdoses in “fake” prescription drugs.

The ACT government issued a public health alert on Saturday after metonitazene was detected in tablets that were sold and wrongly described as oxycodone.

Oxycodone, often called oxy tablets, is a powerful sedative that has become a popular illicit drug.

Canberra’s pill-testing results confirm that ‘ketamine’ is often another drug


Key points:

  • Only 53 per cent of substances called “ketamine” are actually ketamine
  • About 78 per cent of MDMA, the most common drug tested in Canberra, is what it’s described to be
  • An ACT health service says little is known about some of the chemicals used as ketamine substitutes

People who buy the party drug ketamine are just as likely to end up with another substance, according to Canberra’s pill-testing service.

Results from the first five months of the CanTEST trial show that only 53 per cent of drugs thought to be ketamine actually were.

That trend continued in the service’s latest monthly results, which covered the Spilt Milk music festival, when demand for confidential drug checks soared.

CanTEST analysed a record 145 drug samples in that period. Unusually, the vast majority of substances were what users expected them to be.

The exception was ketamine, an increasingly popular illicit drug that is used legally by veterinarians and in hospitals as a sedative.