A warning is being issued after a number of people were admitted to Christchurch Hospital’s Emergency Department suffering from a ’bad batch of MDMA/ecstasy’.
Nine people, including a 15-year-old, were admitted over the weekend of February 24, and another four on the following Monday.
Paul Gee, Emergency Medicine Specialist, Canterbury DHB stated that the duty doctors at the Emergency Department were very astute in picking up that the behaviour of the patients was not consistent with usual MDMA/ecstasy side effects.
At the time, Canterbury DHB was unable to give more information to help drug users identify the bad batch of drugs, as patients were unable or unwilling to disclose further details.
Subsequent medical analysis identified that the substance taken by the patients was N-Ethylpentylone, not MDMA/ecstasy.
"The issue for the public is that a dose of MDMA/ecstasy is generally 100mg, however to get the same effect only 30mg of N-Ethylpentylone is required," says Detective Inspector Greg Murton, Field Crime Manager, Canterbury CIB.
"Hence, if N-Ethylpentylone is mistaken for MDMA/ecstasy, the user will be taking three times the ’prescribed’ dosage, posing a danger to themselves."
Deaths have been documented overseas as being directly attributed to accidental overdoses of N-Ethylpentylone.
"The importers, manufacturers and dealers of these types of drugs, in the form of MDMA, synthetics and so called ‘party pills’ have no scruples about what they put into them, most of which are simply chemicals in varying doses.
Dealers have no idea of the potency of the drugs they are supplying, nor what is contained within them, or simply do not care," says Detective Inspector Murton.
"End users are unable to tell what is in any pill or synthetic drug they take, so are putting themselves at risk of serious harm or death by buying and ingesting ‘party pills’, MDMA/ecstasy or any kind of synthetic drug."