Reagent Drug Safety Test Kit Instructions

How to Check Your Drugs with a Reagent Safety Test Kit

What is a reagent drug test?

Reagent drug testing is also commonly referred to as 'pill testing'. Reagents are chemical substances that exhibit specific colour changes upon interacting with particular drugs. It's important to note that testing your pills with reagent drug tests have their limitations. Reagent drug tests are not capable of detecting all types of drugs, and they cannot provide information regarding the purity or potency of the drugs being tested. Even if your results show the colours that match with the drugs that you believe you have, it's still possible that other drugs may also be present. This is due to the following reasons:

  1. Not all drugs exhibit a colour change when exposed to reagents.
  2. Darker colours may mask or obscure lighter colours in the reaction.
  3. Extremely small quantities of a drug may not produce a visible change in colour.

Despite these constraints, reagent drug testing remains a valuable tool for testing your pills and other drugs, as they can confirm the absence of the specific drug you are testing for.

DanceSafe reagent drug test kits

What Can Reagent Drug Tests Do?

  • Detect the presence of certain drugs in your sample
  • Inform you about whether or not your drug sample is suspicious 
  • Assist you in making an informed choice regarding the consumption of a drug

What Can’t Reagent Drug Tests Do?

  • Indicate the potency or strength of your drug sample
  • Indicate the purity of your drug sample
  • Give you exact details about the composition of your drug sample

How to use reagent drug tests 

Step 1) Put a small amount of your drug that you will be testing onto a non-absorbent, white surface, such as a white ceramic plate. 

  • Your “sample” should be about the size of a pinhead
  • For pressed pills, take a sharp knife and scrape a small amount of powder off the side of the pill
  • For blotter paper, cut off a small piece of the corner of the paper
  • For drugs in liquid form, put one drop onto the white surface 


Step 2) Place one drop of the reagent onto your drug sample

  • Be careful not to let the reagent bottle touch your drug sample, or it will contaminate the whole bottle
  • If the reagent you are using has two different bottles that must be used, such as the ones called Morris, Simon’s, or Folin, place one drop from bottle A and another drop from bottle B
  • If you are using a kit that comes with a Buffer solution, follow the instructions, and for the Simon's and Robatest, add two drops of Buffer and then check the chart for results.
  • Note: Failure to add the buffer or a drop from bottle B (whichever is supplied) will not give meaningful results.


Step 3) Watch for colour changes and compare to the colour chart included in your kit

  • Most types of reagents change colour within twenty seconds after making contact with your drug sample. 
  • The reagent called Ehrlich is slower to change colour and can take 5 minutes to change.
  • For all types of reagents except for the ones called Ehrlich and Morris, the colour change is only valid for the first 40 seconds. Therefore it is important to watch the colour change carefully to ensure the most accurate results.
  • The reagent called Morris is the only type that must to be stirred. You can stir your sample using a toothpick, or any other sharp pointy object, such as the sharp end of a knife. The final colour change will occur after you have stirred for 30 seconds.

Step 4) Repeat the process with other reagents (if applicable)

  • Most drug types need to be tested using more than one type of reagent
  • When using more than one reagent, make sure you put the cap back on the first reagent. Repeat the instructions from step 1 again, using a new drug sample for each reagent used

Step 5) Cleaning up

  • Add baking soda to the mixture in order to neutralize the chemicals, and then wash your surface with soap and water.

Interpreting the results

Caution: There are more than 25,000 different drugs out there, and there are many different factors that can affect reagent drug test results. 

When you are reading the reagent drug test colour chart, it is crucial to remember that you are looking for RED FLAGS, not green lights. You should be looking for whether the colour reactions that are occurring with your drug sample match with the colours that are “expected” as per the colour chart. If they are unexpected, this is a RED FLAG

These unexpected results could be due to a range of reasons, including the six listed below. It is impossible to know which of the reasons are causing the unexpected reaction without taking your drugs to a pill testing lab or facility.

Possible reasons for unexpected results:

  • Residual precursors (ingredients used to make drugs)
  • Impurities leftover from the production process
  • Adulterants (active drugs used to “cut” other drugs, e.g., using meth to “cut” MDMA pills)
  • Bulking agents (inactive substances used to bulk out active drugs, e.g., supplements)
  • Combinations (presence of multiple different drugs or substances in the sample)
  • Analogues (substances closely related to a more common drug that could potentially elicit nearly identical reactions despite variations in dosage or effects)

Example: When testing a sample of MDMA, an “expected” reaction would be for the reagent Marquis to turn black, Simon’s to turn blue, and Froedhe to turn black. If Marquis turns orange instead of black, this is a red flag that there is no MDMA in your drug sample.


Although you might be tempted to make guesses about why your sample did not produce the “expected” colour changing reaction, it's important to remember that you will not be able to determine this without a comprehensive laboratory analysis, such as at a pill testing site. If you are unsure, always use caution. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

The Colour Changing Chart 

The chart below outlines the different reagents and their “expected” reactions with different types of drugs. Please visit DanceSafe's website for a higher-quality image.

Latest 2023 updates:

  • A reaction that appears dark gray or green on Simon's reagent is now considered a typical response for MDA.
  • A reaction that yields a light pink or peach colour on Marquis reagent is now considered a typical response for cocaine.

Storage and handling 

To extend the shelf life of reagents, it is best to keep them out of direct sunlight and in a cold environment. Storing them in a freezer or cold fridge will extend their shelf life to upwards of 12 months for any future pill testing. If storing them in a freezer, be sure to allow them to thaw before use. Properly dispose of any unused reagents at a hazardous waste facility.

The Mandelin reagent starts off a light orange colour, which gradually turns into a cloudy yellow colour after 3 to 4 weeks. This is normal. Make sure to shake the bottle before use.

The Marquis and Mecke reagents start off as transparent liquids that gradually get darker over time. This is normal and does not indicate that the liquid has expired. It is an indication that the reagents have expired when the liquids become extremely dark and obscure any colour reactions.

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