Objective: To examine the methods used by a sample of regular ecstasy users to determine the content and purity of ecstasy pills, their
knowledge of the limitations of available pill testing methods, and how pill test results would influence their drug use behaviour.
Method: Data were collected from regular ecstasy users (n = 810) recruited from all eight capital cities of Australia. Data were analysed using
multiple logistic regression and chi-square (χ2) tests of association. Open-ended responses were coded for themes.
Results: The majority of the sample (84%) reported attempting to find out the content and purity of ecstasy at least some of the time, most
commonly asking friends or dealers. Less than one quarter (22%) reported personal use of testing kits. There was a moderate level of awareness
of the limitations of testing kits among those who reported having used them. Over half (57%) of those reporting personal use of testing kits
reported that they would not take a pill if test results indicated that it contained ketamine and over three quarters (76%) reported that they
would not take an “unknown” pill (producing no reaction in a reagent test). Finally, a considerable majority (63%) expressed interest in pill
testing should it be more widely available.
Conclusions: The majority of regular ecstasy users sampled in this Australian study report previous attempts to determine the content and
purity of pills sold as ecstasy. Although only a small proportion have used testing kits, many report that they would do so if they were more
widely available. The results of pill tests may influence drug use if they indicate that pills contain substances which ecstasy users do not want
to ingest or are of unknown content. More detailed research examining ways in which pill testing may influence drug use is required to inform