A New Drug Education

An interview with What’s in My Baggie co-producer and narrator, Jordan Fisher

Originally published May 6, 2015


I remember the first time I saw cocaine. I was a college sophomore at an apartment party in the city. I was talking to a boy who was neither cute nor interesting, but was in a fraternity and seemed to be popular, which was good enough for me. As we spoke, someone walking by tapped his shoulder and pointed at something on the table behind us. He then bent down, pressed a finger to his left nostril, snorted it, and rejoined the conversation, completely disregarding his illicit intermission. Being the girl who simply “didn’t drink because alcohol didn’t taste good,” I was taken aback. He mistook my look of terror for offense and embarrassingly asked, “oh, did you want some?”

I don’t do drugs but that doesn’t mean that I don’t understand why other people do.

With the exception of medicinal opiates, such as OxyContin, Vicodin, and methadone, which cause 15,000 deaths a year, drugs are illegal in the United States.[1] Drugs can cause heart, muscle, neurological and mental health problems, and drug overdoses kill hundreds of people everyday.[2] Despite the frightening statistics and the high school drug and alcohol education seminars held around prom season, drugs still make their way into the back pockets of people from every age group[3], socio-economic class, and background. The drug deals are sketchy (think closed doors, nicknames, tight-gripped handshakes, and, of course, baggies), sharing is always complicated, and undergraduate girls may give you shaming looks of terror, but the complications and stigmas in no way end drug trafficking. With no end in sight and potentially laced, high-risk substances heavily thrown into distribution along with untainted narcotics, What’s in My Baggie (WIMB) filmmakers and the Bunk Police are determined to provide a safer drug experience for the discernible mass of the public who purchase drugs.[4]

The Bunk Police, founded by business school dropout Adam Auctor, is a company whose sole purpose is to disseminate substance test kits to people taking drugs. Very often, people are sold adulterated drugs and experiences can range from a bad trip to death. The Bunk Police’s test kits are able to check a sample of purchased drugs and determine if it is pure or not. When selling and teaching people about his substance kits at a festival, Adam met a group of people who ended up traveling with him and filming a documentary of their experience together. That documentary is called What’s in My Baggie.

The following interview was conducted with What’s in My Baggie co-producer and narrator, Jordan Fisher, about the genesis, process, and future expectations of the documentary.


Natalia Lehaf: I know that the documentary, WIMB, was ignited by one of the filmmakers, Jeff’s, experience with hallucinations after buying fake LSD. Were you there to witness that occurrence?

Jordan Fisher: Oh, yeah. Actually, I took a little bit [of the fake LSD] too. It was our other producer, Jeff, who took a solid amount. He had a really unpleasant time: sweating, cold, sweating, cold. He wasn’t having so hard of a time that he needed medical attention, but it was definitely a very surprising and somewhat unrecognizable experience for all of us to witness. Another surprising element to everything was that there was quite a bit of this particular stuff going around all of the camping area, and the dosages seemed to be wildly different. Some people had taken one and were on a different planet; some other people had taken two or three and weren’t feeling anything.

What year was this?

2012.

How soon after the trip did you meet the Adam, of the Bunk Police?

While Jeff was still tripping, actually. He was going through it for quite a while and we needed to find out what was going on with that stuff because it was messing up people all over the camping area. You know that’s Bonnaroo in general, but it was a great time to test the LSD we had on Adam’s kit and if it were LSD it would have turned pink, but it didn’t turn anything. It actually turned out to be 25-I-NBOME, which is a common substitute for LSD because it’s pretty much the only hallucinogen around with a low enough dosage to be able to soak into blotter paper and still be a strong dose.  It’s difficult to dose out correctly and the varying potency we all experienced is a common problem with 25-i.

How did you all end up working with the Bunk Police?

Well, I thought he [Adam] was so cool and thought his business model was brilliant so I ended up just hanging out with him throughout Bonaroo and that summer we were on a miniature tour of music festivals and three of our festivals had lined up together, so we became good friends at the end of the course. I bought a [testing] kit from him and would go around testing people’s drugs.

And was this before you decided to make a documentary about drug use at festivals?

When 2013 rolled around, Adam and I were pretty good friends and we began making more involved plans to hit the road together. The original idea was to help him promote the test kits and then one of our friends with a background in photography came along and it all fell into place.

Did you all plan to go to festivals to make WIMB or were you going to the festivals regardless?

Well, we already planned to go to Coachella because we go every year and then we walked around asking people if we could test their drugs [for free] and so many people kept saying no. I couldn’t believe it. So I said to my friend Kyle, “Dude, no one would be able to believe that these people are refusing to let us test their drugs for free. You gotta film some of this.”

How long did the filming last?

We started doing a small bit of filming right after Coachella and then we started really making moves at the end of May of 2013 and then we hit the road in the beginning of June and filmed for the next eight weeks.

So you guys were still filming when the deaths at Electric Zoo and Paradiso?

The deaths at E-Zoo occurred after we finished filming but the deaths at Paradiso happened while we were filming and actually The Gorge, the venue that hosted Paradiso, invited us back to sell kits for a Phish concert. It was nice to know that we had made a little difference and unfortunately some people had to die for them to recognize the value in what we were doing.

How did you fund WIMB, including festival and travel costs?

We funded the entire things ourselves, which was a struggle. A few of us quit our jobs to make the documentary, none of us are rich, and we spent a few nights on the road sleeping 3 per car.  We all went into debt and had to work the old fashioned way to get back on our feet financially after the project was over.  I think all of us would do it again in a heartbeat though, it was rewarding and we’re not scared of work. Also, nice thing was that we didn’t have anyone telling us what to do. It took us over a year to finally make up for the amount we had spent; our Kickstarter Indiegogo page helped a bit but keeping 6 people on the road for two months going to expensive events was not cheap.

Did you guys have to hide the fact that you had Bunk Police substance testing kits with you guys?

Ironically, we sneak in drug testing kits the same way people sneak in drugs. One time, we removed the entire interior of my Volkswagen bus to fit in test kits. If you disassembled the bus, you would have found every panel and every door infiltrated with kits.

I know there were people who weren’t receptive when you asked them to test their drugs, but were there more people than what we saw in WIMB?

Oh, yeah. A lot of people didn’t want to be filmed. For every person you see on film, there were 200 not on film. We didn’t set up our Bunk Police tent to film- it was to sell kits and talk to as many people as possible and try to guide them in the right direction. We couldn’t tell them to take anything and we couldn’t test the drugs in the tent, for liability reasons, but the point was to get the test kits out and to spread awareness and educate as many people as possible.

What would happen if people came to you and told you their drugs were adulterated? How would you guys handle that?

We would tell people to take it back to the person they bought it from specifically so they could call the dealer out for selling fake stuff.  Oftentimes, the people selling the drugs didn’t even know they were selling bunk shit, they had made a bulk purchase from someone they trusted and were shocked to find out they had been duped, sometimes for thousands of dollars.  We saw a variety of reactions from dealers; I saw one guy get in his car and leave the festival immediately because he was so mad that he had been sold several ounces of synthetic cathinones instead of MDMA.  Other times, dealers would pretend to be surprised and then slink off and keep selling the drugs they knew were bunk.  At Wakarusa, where the Bunk Police have been present for several years and are a staple in the camping area, we briefly came in contact with a very angry sketchy drug dealer who was having a really tough time selling his bunk “MDMA” and stormed off from every campsite that had a test kit.  It was funny and rewarding at the same time.  The crowd at Wakarusa is probably one of the best educated on testing and it really shows, but there’s always room for improvement.

Were any of you ever treated as medical assistants?

We always err on the side of caution whenever people are experiencing medical ramifications. Most people are afraid of the medical tent but they are very helpful.

What do you think of the contradiction that there is a medical tent yet you all need to sneak in your Bunk Police equipment?

It has to do with the Rave Act.

Are there any other laws that hindered WIMB/selling the products?

Yeah, different state laws do. We never actually got in trouble with the law anywhere. For the most part, police officers didn’t shut down our tents. There were some cops who didn’t like being on camera and the festival’s security obviously wouldn’t let us bring kits into festivals, but otherwise most reasonable law enforcement individuals recognize that the most important thing is keeping people safe and that’s what we were trying to do, too.

Do you agree with law enforcement officials doing random searches of people’s belongings at music festivals?

It’s not really police officers that are the problem here, it’s the security/event staff.  They tend to overstep their boundaries a lot, and I can personally verify that most confiscated drugs just end up getting re-sold by the same security staff who confiscated the drugs in the first place.

Which festival did you guys run into the most problems?

Coachella. We couldn’t even set up a tent site. We would go around telling people to check out the Bunk Police’s test kits and then the festival staff went through our belongings and took away our test kits. They also basically surprise-forced several people who were promoting for Bunk Police out of their own campsite, and went through their cars, luggage, and everything in their campsite while they made them stand and watch at a distance.  It was ridiculous, and even when they saw that they were simply trying to keep people safe, the Coachella staff still threatened them and told them that if they saw one more thing about Bunk Police at Coachella, they would be back to their campsite to throw everyone out.

In your experience, what drug is the most commonly adulterated at these festivals?

The majority of the people buying kits are buying them so they can test an alleged MDMA sample, and usually we saw more synthetic cathinones than MDMA from those test results, depending on the festival.  The fewest positive test results came from cocaine samples.  The entire summer we were filming, we only saw one cocaine test sample with any cocaine in it at all.  The “cocaine” often tested positive for meth, but the bulk of the powder is usually a complete mystery.   It’s a safe assumption that it’s nothing good.

Is there anything you would explain to the people who would go to you to test their drugs?

We aren’t chemists; we aren’t drug experts. We may be a little more educated than the people around us and education is one of the cornerstones of the harm reduction movement, so we do our best to make sure people learn something from us.  Legally, though, we can’t actually test the drugs, which is an important clarification.  We sell people the kit, and they can take it somewhere else and test their drugs, but we ask that people never bring drugs into the tent.  If we test their drugs, it means we’re handling the drugs, which means we’ve taken possession of the drug, which means we could get charged with drug possession if someone really wanted to screw us over. Sometimes people straight up ask us “Should I take this?” even if their test results aren’t what they expected… we tell them “No, for your sake please do not take it, and if possible, try and make sure the person selling it knows their stuff is bunk so nobody else takes it unwittingly.” But we have no control over what people do at the end of the day.

What do you say to the people who believe that selling these kits is perpetuating the drug problem?

We’ve got an agenda going on and when someone wants to disregard what we’ve spent months building up a case for, then I don’t really have time for that. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but some people feel really strongly about that when they have little experience in the drug world.

WIMB focuses on festivals- is there any reason why you didn’t expand that to college campuses, clubs, cities etc.?

A music festival is one of the only places you can walk up to someone and say, “hey guys, what’s up? Can we check out your drugs?” There is a 50-50 chance that they will say yes. We were able to walk around festivals with the Bunk Police flag and people will come up to you with bags of drugs in their hands. Music festivals were the quickest, easiest way to get all of the shocking footage we needed.

What are you hoping to see as a result of WIMB?

A lot of support. A lot more education. A lot more awareness. A lot more distribution of the test kits. A lot fewer deaths.

Since releasing WIMB on YouTube, have you guys been continuing this project in other ways?

We’re done editing the documentary, but we aren’t done with it. We want to see everyone at every music festival, or anywhere even, across the country with a test kit in his or her hands. We want consumers to test their drugs. We want the buyers and dealers testing their drugs. The grand goal is to spark more of a national debate about drug policy and hopefully show how ineffective it is right now. We want to have a political impact. For now, we are going to continue getting as many test kits out there as possible to try and further the harm reduction movement.

Check out the documentary here.

[1] “Prescription Painkiller Overdoses in the US.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 01 Nov. 2011. Web. 03 Apr. 2015.

[2] “DEA / Drug Fact Sheets.” DEA / Drug Fact Sheets. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Apr. 2015.

[3] “DrugFacts: Nationwide Trends.” DrugFacts: Nationwide Trends. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Apr. 2015.

[4] “A Brief History of Drug Use and Misrepresented Substances.” Whats In My Baggie. N.p., 14 Nov. 2013. Web. 03 Apr. 2015.