Notification: High dose MDMA pills still a risk this summer

KnowYourStuffNZ is testing a fair number of high-dose MDMA pills. These are more risky because the dosage is excessive. While we’re seeing lots of cathinones, there is still plenty of MDMA around.

These pills should be approached with caution.

We advise that the only way to guarantee safety is to not take them. If you do choose to take them, our recommendation is to only take a third of a pill at most, and wait at least an hour before considering taking any more.

These pills have been tested to contain MDMA and a variety of fillers. One type of pill (Pink Porsche copies) also contain caffeine. Combining stimulants such as MDMA and caffeine can increase the risk of heart problems and psychosis. No other psychoactives have been detected in the listed pills.

A common dose of MDMA is around 80-120 milligrams, depending upon a user’s body weight. Some of these pills contain more than two doses in a single pill. We recommend weighing your doses wherever possible.

Taking too much MDMA can cause a very unpleasant experience, health risks, and sometimes even death.

If you or someone you know has taken one of these pills and experiences dizziness and vomiting, a sharp rise in body temperature, muscle cramping, heart palpitations, seizures, or unconsciousness, get medical help straight away.

Please note that the amount of MDMA in these pills is only an indication. Our spectrometers are good at telling what substances are present but not great at working out exactly how much. We recommend always erring on the side of caution.

Suspected high dose pills include:

Description Image
Blue New York Yankees
Light blue/turquoise, round, quite thick, NY logo on front, dividing line on reverse
Weight: 350mg
Estimated to contain 150mg MDMA
Note: pills of this size, shape, and colour last year contained 250-300mg MDMA

Colour and size reference chart

Green Four Leaf Clover
Pale green, round
Weight: 380 mg
Estimated to contain 230mg MDMA
Purple Givenchy
Pinky-purple, square, Givenchy logo on front, “givenchy 260mg” on back with dividing line
Weight: 430-460mg
Estimated to contain 250mg MDMA

Orange Soundcloud
Orange, cloud shaped, Soundcloud logo on front, divider line on back
Weight: 440 mg
Estimated to contain 250mg MDMA
Blue Kenzo
Blue, tiger head on front, “KENZO” on back
Weight: 380mg
Estimated to contain 150mg MDMA
Note: pills of this size, shape, and colour last year contained 200-300mg MDMA
Red Iron Man
Red-pink, Iron Man logo
Weight: 370mg
Estimated to contain 150mg MDMA
Yellow #MeToo
Rectangular, “#MeToo” on front, two fists on back, dividing line
Weight: 460mg
Estimated to contain 200mg MDMA
Pink Porsche
Pink, Porsche logo on front and reverse
Weight: 260mg
Estimated to contain 160mg of MDMA and 100mg of caffeine, equivalent to 1 or 2 cups of coffee
A copy of previous Pink Porsches which did not contain caffeine
Purple Superman
Tests as nothing but plaster of Paris
No MDMA found
Sucks if you bought this one

ALERT: Dangerous cathinones are bloody everywhere this summer

Drug checking by KnowYourStuffNZ is revealing that this is the summer of cathinones. More than half of the samples we have tested at New Year’s festivals have not been MDMA but instead more dangerous stimulants from the cathinones family.

The most common cathinone right now is eutylone. We saw small amounts last year and now there’s heaps of it around. This is a big change and bad news.

We recommend not taking eutylone.

What does eutylone feel like?

Initially eutylone feels like MDMA – euphoria but that fades after an hour or so. You may think it is weak MDMA and be tempted to take more. Don’t.

We are hearing far too many tales of miserable experiences with eutylone. The tales are all similar: “last night I took some, after an hour or so I thought it was wearing off so I took some more, was awake all night, and now it’s midday and I can’t sleep and I feel like shit”. In some cases, people have had to wait more than 48 hours before they could sleep.

What are the health risks from eutylone?

Not being able to sleep is the best outcome. Other risks include anxiety, headaches, stomach upsets, agitation, and paranoia. We know of at least two people who have needed medical help, one of whom was having seizures. The worst outcome is vomiting, convulsions, and possibly death.

What to do if you have taken eutylone?

If you have taken it, don’t take any more. Rest, eat, and wait it out. Avoid cannabis, alcohol, and caffeine. Definitely don’t try to drive.

If you have a racing heart, elevated temperature, extreme anxiety, numb, tingling, or cold fingers or toes, or haven’t slept for more than 24 hours, don’t wait. Seek medical help.

If you are looking after someone who has taken eutylone, help them to stay calm and remind them that they will just have to wait it out. Staying on the couch and bingeing TV might not sound like an exciting time, but it’s the best thing they can do in this situation.

How to tell if you have eutylone or MDMA?

You cannot tell the difference between MDMA and eutylone based on sight or smell alone.

We have tested eutylone in many different forms this season:

  • white powder
  • brown powder
  • light-coloured lumps that look like Turkish Delight
  • brown smelly lumps that look like broken biscuit
  • cream-coloured rocks
  • light blue pills with a Playboy logo
  • round yellow pills with a Spiderman logo front and back
  • blue Superman pills
  • some of the round blue Monster pills (some have tested as MDMA, some as cathinones)

Get your stuff tested before taking it.

"Biscuit crumbs" of eutylone White rock of eutylone Orange brown lumps of eutylone Cream powder of eutylone

Blue Superman Eutylone pill Cream Eutylone rock Round yellow Eutylone pill

We have found cathinones all over the country, not just in specific regions.

KnowYourStuffNZ’s spectrometers can’t be everywhere but reagent tests may help. Most of the eutylone that we have seen has not been mixed with other substances. With the Cosmic EZTest or the Hemp Store Marquis test then cathinones will turn yellow, instead of the black that MDMA gives.

Reagent tests are also not good at telling the difference between cathinones, but the harm reduction advice is the same for all of them – best avoid them.

However, we hear that Cosmic and the Hemp Store are low on stock for their reagent test kits. If you have a spare test kit, look out for everyone else and ask around to see if anyone else needs testing.

Our recommendation

We recommend not taking eutylone.

The people who have been getting in touch with us after (or during) unpleasant experiences also recommend not taking eutylone, probably using stronger language than us.

There’s so much eutylone around right now and so little MDMA that we say that if it’s not tested, don’t take it.

If you do want to take that risk, then take only a small amount, don’t redose, don’t drink alcohol, and consider having at least one sober person with you who you can turn to for help if you need it.

Actual MDMA is pretty scarce at the moment. Maybe we can blame COVID for the lack of MDMA? Whatever the reason, just stay safe out there.

Ugh. More bloody cathinones

Cathinones being substituted for MDMA could be on the rise.

The last couple of KnowYourStuffNZ drug checking clinics have discovered an increase of people’s “MDMA” either being

  • a cathinone with no MDMA in it, or
  • a cathinone with just enough MDMA to mask it and spoof reagent tests

We anticipate that this could be the case nationwide, and advise being more cautious than usual when dealing with MDMA this summer.

Cathinones: a shit time for a long time

Known by the press (and no-one else) as ‘bath salts’, cathinones are a family of stimulants that are often sold in place of MDMA. We’ve found them in both pressed pills and in crystal form.

The more common ones that we’ve found in people’s drugs are

We have also on rare occasions found; mephedrone (4-MMC), mexedrone, MDPV, and Alpha-PVP.

Cathinones have the same euphoric onset as MDMA, but it wears off far quicker than MDMA. Because of this, people will often re-dose. This is where they run into trouble.

Cathinones are usually more potent than MDMA. What the person thinks is a manageable amount of MDMA for an adventure can be a dangerous amount of cathinone.

This can lead to anxiety, paranoia, gastric distress, seizures, or respiratory failure. Mephedrone in particular has been linked to a number of deaths in the UK and Europe.

Cathinones have a duration of between 2 and 5 hours, and the after effects generally last in your body between 6 and 24 hours. These after effects can make it very difficult to sleep. Redosing will extend the after-effects. One person who presumed they had weak MDMA and took several doses experienced what they called “48 hours of hell” from what turned out to be eutylone.

Dunno about y’all, but we’ve got better things to do than spend 48 hours staring at the ceiling having anxiety attacks and regretting our life choices.

How do I find out if I’ve got a cathinone?

You come and see us and get your drugs checked, obvs. We do both a reagent test and run a sample through the FTIR so we can tell you whether you’ve got anything horrible in your MDMA.

If you can’t get to one of our drug checking services, you can buy reagent tests from the Hemp Store or Cosmic. They can tell you if your MDMA contains MDMA. They can’t tell you if your MDMA also has things that aren’t MDMA in it like the FTIR spectrometers can, but it’s better than nothing at all.

I think I’ve taken a cathinone, what do?

If you start feeling anxious or sick, or you get the shakes, or you’re short of breath, go to the medics immediately. Tell them what you’ve taken, and how long ago. They won’t judge you and they aren’t narcs — their only concern is making sure you’re safe, and helping you if you aren’t.

Please don’t roll the dice with your drugs this summer. Cathinones are incredibly dangerous, and we’d rather see you regularly in the checking tent summer after summer than in hospital even once. Come and see us soon, eh?

Introducing High Alert

We’ve been advocating for a drug Early Warning System for New Zealand for years, and it’s finally happened! Introducing High Alert – where you can check for warnings and notifications about what’s out there and help keep yourself safe.


So, who’s behind High Alert?

It’s a collaborative effort between a network of organisations who regularly encounter and respond to drug issues. Known as Drug Information and Alerts New Zealand (DIANZ), this group works together to reduce drug related harm. DIANZ issues alerts and notifications when something is identified that poses significant harm to people who use drugs, and gathers and analyses data from a variety of sources in order to monitor drug trends. .

KnowYourStuffNZ is part of DIANZ. We support the work DIANZ is doing by providing information about potentially dangerous substances we have found, and helping with decisions, alerts, and notifications.

Key info about High Alert:

· It acts as a central point for all drug related data, which will help to quickly and effectively respond to immediate and future risk in drug harm.

· Anyone who has experienced unexpected or concerning effects from drugs can share their experience through High Alert. This will help keep others safe. Data collected via the website is entirely confidential. It won’t be used to pursue prosecution.

· Alerts and notifications will be published on the website to inform the public of any increased health risks presented by new drug trends or novel substances.

· Education and specific harm reduction advice based on the latest trends will also be published on the website.

· All of this aims to reduce drug-related harm.

The High Alert website publishes alerts and general harm reduction information for people who use drugs, health practitioners, and the general public. It also allows people who use drugs to report unexpected or concerning effects from drug use with no risk of prosecution.

Note: we will continue to provide our own alerts when public safety requires a speedy response to emerging dangerous substances, such as over New Years. However, we encourage you to check High Alert regularly – it’s been a long time coming and we’re happy it’s finally here!

Visit highalert.org.nz to find out more. 

Update: more pills to be aware of this summer

With the festival season ongoing and many university Orientation events happening next week, KnowYourStuffNZ would like to provide an update of pills currently in circulation that may not be as they seem. This follows on from our notification of high dose MDMA pills prior to New Year. The pills have been identified in our testing this summer season, and are likely to be found around the country.

Four new types of pill have been estimated to contain more than one dose of MDMA, and two contain no MDMA at all, instead containing cathinones (“bath salts”). One of the cathinone pills also contains caffeine.

Cathinone pills

Mephedrone produces similar effects to MDMA, but is described as ‘speedier’ and is active in lower doses. A common dose is 45-80mg. It has been implicated in a small number of deaths overseas. 

The main danger with mephedrone is that it has a high redose compulsion which makes you want to take more. This can lead to prolonged insomnia, overdose or dependence.

Methylone, also known as bk-MDMA, has similar effects to MDMA but is less potent in terms of dose. A common dose is 150-200mg. The identified pill also contains caffeine. This increases the risk of harm as combining stimulants can cause heart problems and psychosis. 

Cathinones can be dangerous when taken with alcohol, tramadol, or MAOI antidepressants. They can cause insomnia and anxiety, and in high doses, psychosis. 

High dose MDMA pills

The pills that we have found contain up to three doses in a single pill. A common dose of MDMA is around 80-120 milligrams, depending upon a user’s body weight. We recommend weighing your doses wherever possible.

Taking too much MDMA can result in a very unpleasant experience, health risks, and sometimes even death. 

Because these substances act on the serotonin system, serotonin syndrome is a potentially fatal risk. If you or someone you know has taken any of these pills and experiences the following, seek medical attention immediately. 

  • dizziness
  • vomiting, 
  • a sharp rise in body temperature, 
  • muscle cramping, 
  • heart palpitations, 
  • seizures, 
  • unconsciousness,.

Please note that the amount of active substance present is an estimate only as our technology cannot directly measure dosage or purity. Our spectrometer provides a rough percentage of psychoactive content in a sample. We use this combined with the weight of the pill to reach these estimates. The estimated dosage should be treated as an indication only and we recommend caution.

Pills to be aware of include:

 

Description Image
Green Speckles

Dark green, round, speckled, no logo

Weight: 371mg

Estimated to contain 150-200mg MDMA

1 green plain adjusted - CopyColour and size reference chart
(1 square= 1cm2)
Orange One

Orange/brown, round pill, has ‘ONE’ stamped on it

Weight: 370mg

Estimated to contain 200-250mg MDMA

2 orange one adjusted - Copy
Pink Grenade

Pink, shaped like a grenade with grenade markings stamped on it, sometimes mistaken for a pineapple

Weight: 338mg

Estimated to contain at least 150mg MDMA

4 pink grenade adjusted - Copy
Blue Punisher

Blue, roughly triangular, Punisher logo

Weight: 443mg

Estimated to contain 200mg MDMA

blue punisher - Copy
Blue Mario

Pale blue, round, Mario Brothers face stamped on it

Weight: 430mg

Estimated to contain ~180mg methylone and 100mg caffeine.

3 blue mario adjusted - Copy
Dark Green square

Dark green, square-ish pill, logo can’t be made out

Weight: 245mg

Estimated to contain 90mg mephedrone

5 dark green meph adjusted - Copy

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