Beware of Online Drugs

By Kevin Masterman, Toronto Police Service Published: 11:37 a.m. September 12, 2014
Updated: 4:17 p.m. September 12, 2014

Consuming research drugs purchased on the internet is a dangerous practice that could be fatal.

A man stands at a podium beside a TV monitor showing plastic resealable bags containing white crystals
Inspector Howie Page shows bags of ethylphenidate seized by police at a media conference September 12

Toronto Police Drug Squad unit commander Inspector Howie Page issued the reminder after two young men in their early 20s in 23 Division required urgent medical attention after using ethylphenidate and methylbenzypiperazine.

The substances, which can be snorted, smoked, injected or diluted in a liquid, are not controlled by the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and possession and sale of them are not illegal.

“It is believed that the victims of the overdose purchased these substances with the belief that the effects would mimic those of cocaine or ecstasy,” Page said, at a media conference at police headquarters on September 12. “These incidents are of great concern to the Toronto Police Service and there exists a need to warn the public of the potential dangers with the recreational use of research drugs.”

Media conference on Availability and Risks of "Research Drugs" on Sept. 12

Page warned that there are risks attached to the consumption of drugs and chemicals and these drugs are meant for research purposes only.

“Consuming substances based on the anecdotal advice from uncredited sources referenced on the internet may lead to a false sense of safety,” he said. “Consumers have no way of knowing if the substance received is actually the substance it is purported to be. We see incidents involving drugs that are found to contain numerous harmful and carcinogenic substances. Furthermore, consumers have no way of knowing the concentration or purity of an acquired substance which may lead to an accidental overdose.

“One has no idea how they will react to a substance or what pre-existing condition may be affected by its consumption. Ingesting these substances in conjunction with alcohol, controlled or uncontrolled substances may be hazardous to health or even lethal.”

To stem the flow of research drugs, the Service is educating its officers and the public, sharing its findings with Health Canada and investigating the nature of the substances and the distributors.

“Should Health Canada and the Public Prosecution Service of Canada take a position in the future that these are, in fact, controlled, then we would target the sources of trafficking,” said Page.

Anyone with information pertaining to chemical or research drugs is asked to contact police at (416) 808-2222, the Toronto Police Drug Squad at (416) 808-6100, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), online at, text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637), or Leave A Tip on Facebook. Download the free Crime Stoppers Mobile App on iTunes, Google Play or Blackberry App World.

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