Partying (or not) at Pride - Part 2

“PARTYING (OR NOT) AT PRIDE” – part 2 by Nick Boyce

This is a continuation from Nick’s previous post which discusses drug updates and things we should be aware of as gay men in and around Pride.  


Here’s a cool site… Take the drugs meter - anonymous, objective feedback on your drug use that allows you to compare your use against thousands of people across the globe. Whether you’re a seasoned partier or a newbie, there are some unique issues to consider when it comes to drug use safety. Some of the following are based on anecdotal and other evidence of current drug use in Toronto.


Is anyone even doing E, or pressed pills, these days? Seems a lot of people are sticking to capsules of MDMA (or as some call it now, “Molly”). Proper MDMA powder should be white but, if not as well processed, can look like brown sugar. It also tends to have a slight, sweet, black licorice type smell. You might want to consider purchasing a “Testing Kit”.

A concern in the last few years is that there are several new drugs that also look like white powders. Some of these are showing up in Toronto – either sold as new drugs or sold as ecstasy, MDMA, or coke. Mephedrone (“meow meow”), 2CB, 2CI, 5-MeO-DIPT (“foxy”), all act as stimulants and may feel similar to MDMA, but can have varied other effects. Be cautious when taking a supply you haven’t tried before and watch out for the following:

  1. Taking a long time to kick in.
  2. Overheating.
  3. Visual colours or “streamers”


When swallowed, you usually start feeling most drugs, within 20 - 45 minutes. It can take longer depending on your state of mind and how recently you have eaten. If you’re still not feeling anything within an hour, be cautious with re-dosing or taking another pill or capsule. In the last couple of years in Canada, there have been a few cases of PMMA (Paramethoxymethamphetamine) in ecstasy pills.

The concern with PMMA is that it takes longer to kick-in than MDMA and the effects may be milder, leading people to taking a double dose (because they weren’t feeling high they took a second one), but PMMA is more toxic and can cause a significant rise in body temperature, leading to overheating and serious health consequences.

Some of the newer drugs can cause “visuals” which, if unexpected or out in public, can be alarming, especially when you’re not expecting them.

Finally, some of the newer chemicals require very small amounts – micrograms or just a few milligrams - which can be difficult to measure. It may also be better to avoid snorting some of these newer drugs as people have reported more problems this way.

Here is a slightly technical but informative presentation about some of these newer substances: “Bath Salts and Other Newer Drugs”.

Nick Boyce has played and worked in and around various nightclub and party scenes for the last 15 years. He currently educates social and healthcare professionals about drug use and harm reduction. Unfortunately, his recovery time from late nights sometimes takes longer than it used to.



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