After a massive effort from the team and a rerun of a number of spectra to capture database updates, we are now able to publish our final results for the 2016/2017 season.
This year’s emerging substance group of concern at events is the cathinone family, a group of related substances that are often substituted for MDMA. A particular worry is n-ethylpentylone, which we found at every event to which we took the spectrometer. N-ethylpentylone appeared on the illicit market in mid-2016 and its physiological and toxicological effects have not yet been characterised, making it extremely risky to ingest. Additionally, we found two distinct new cathinones that have not yet been identified in the TICTAC database, and have not been seen by other drug checking organisations overseas.
Good news is that we found fewer samples of NBOMe substituted for LSD, however it is still around and extreme caution is advised. We are aware that GHB is making a comeback in popularity, although the only sample we’ve seen tested as GBL.
We are expecting and preparing for Fentanyl, which has been implicated in a large number of deaths overseas, to arrive in New Zealand soon. Fentanyl has been found as an adulterant in a wide range of substances used recreationally in other countries, and the risk of contamination of the New Zealand illicit market is high, therefore our advice is to always test a substance before using it.
KnowYourStuffNZ carries out drug checking at events in conjunction with New Zealand Drug Foundation, who own the FT-IR spectrometer we use.