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

KnowYourStuffNZ is a not-for-profit social enterprise funded by donations from the community. If you value our work, please donate
.

Eutylone report – “I felt poisoned for 48 hours”

KnowYourStuffNZ’s testing at festivals this summer has found that there are still dangerous chemicals being sold as MDMA (as well as a lot of MDMA). 

Know Your Stuff-29

One drug of concern is eutylone, which was described to us as “48 hours of misery”. Eutylone is a new cathinone (sometimes referred to as “bath salts”). KnowYourStuffNZ summarised the available information about eutylone in our warning last year: Cathinone C86 identified as eutylone. We have found eutlyone at every event we’ve attended this season.

Eutylone is particularly risky as it initially feels like weak MDMA. It produces some euphoria which fades after the first hour. Users thinking they have MDMA may think it is just weak MDMA and be tempted to take more. Higher doses have been linked with intense, unpleasant and potentially dangerous experiences.

As eutylone is a very new substance, there is no good information on the recommended dosage. However, users have reported effects at 35 mg. If users are expecting MDMA and weighing out MDMA-sized doses (typically 100 mg), then they risk unknowingly taking a dangerous amount of eutylone.

A KnowYourStuffNZ client did take more – 250 mg in total. They reported feeling “poisoned” and spent 48 hours in misery, staring at the ceiling, unable to sleep.

All of the samples of eutylone we have found have been indistinguishable from MDMA by eye, so without testing you cannot be certain you do not have this substance. Eutylone shows the characteristic cathinone reactions when reagent tested – orange/yellow change with Marquis, and muddy green/brown with Mandelin. 

KnowYourStuffNZ’s advice about eutylone is to approach with extreme caution. Not enough is known about this substance to provide specific harm reduction information, so we recommend avoiding where possible, and if you do intend to take it, take a very small amount and wait at least an hour before considering having more. If you feel unwell, particularly with stimulant-type symptoms such as: racing heart, elevated temperature, or extreme anxiety, seek medical attention.

KnowYourStuffNZ is a not-for-profit social enterprise funded by donations from the community. If you value our work, please donate.

Cathinone C86 identified as eutylone

The substance found and alerted by KnowYourStuffNZ in testing earlier this month, previously known only as C86, has now been identified as eutylone.

Eutylone, also known as bk-EBDB or n-ethylbutylone, is a stimulant in the cathinone family (sometimes called “bath salts”). It was first synthesised in the 1960s and first reported to  European Early Warning Systems in 2014. Reports of recreational use began to appear about 2 years ago.

KnowYourStuffNZ detected the first sample of this substance in December 2018. We have detected five samples of eutylone this year, in locations from upper North Island to lower South Island. All were obtained as MDMA, and were described as a white powder that tends to clump together – however it may also be around in other formats. Anecdotal reports from NZers who have used this substance thinking it was MDMA suggest it may be responsible for several hospitalisations.

In the absence of a spectrometer, reagents can be used to test for the presence of eutylone. Testing with the Marquis reagent will give a yellow/orange colour, and the Mandelin reagent turns a muddy greenish-brown. Meanwhile if a substance contains MDMA, both Marquis and Mandelin reagents will turn black. It is important to note that other cathinones have been found mixed with MDMA, so a positive test result for MDMA does not mean a substance is unadulterated.

Eutylone is not well researched and very little information about it is available. The following information has been put together from a combination of user reports, safety data sheets, and references in scientific journals.

Dosage:

Oral doses of between 35mg and 150mg have been reported, however the average dose is reported as 60-100mg. 150mg was described as ‘very intense’.

Duration

4-6 hours

Effects

The effects are described as subtle, calming, social, serotonergic (loved up), euphoric, and not particularly stimulating.

Sensations of physical warmth and tingling were described in several reports. One user reported feeling unusual heart activity.

Dangers/negatives

Users reported redose compulsion, with most redosing every 1-2 hours.  Because this is a stimulant, repeated redosing can lead to restlessness and insomnia, and eventually psychosis if the user does not sleep.

Safety Data Sheet information suggests it may be irritating to mucous membranes.

Users have reported raised heartbeats, and as it constricts blood vessels this substance can also raise blood pressure and cause numb or cold extremities.

Eutylone has been identified as present in one death in the US, however the victim had also taken fentanyl and thus the role of eutylone in the death is not clear.

Harm reduction information

Avoid snorting this substance.

Avoid taking with other stimulants (eg cocaine or MDMA), dissociatives (eg ketamine, DXM, or GHB/GBL), or alcohol.

If you intend to take eutylone, be aware that it is a very new substance with little confirmed information available, and therefore approach with extreme caution. Take only a fraction of the expected dose and wait at least an hour before taking more.

Always make sure a trusted person knows what you are doing.

If you experience dizziness, nausea, racing heart, or numbness in the extremities, seek medical help and be honest about what you have taken.

Dunedin cathinone capsule

KnowYourStuffNZ is a not-for-profit social enterprise funded entirely by donations from the community. If you value our work, please donate.

ALERT: White powder in clear capsules containing unknown cathinone C86

FURTHER UPDATE 1 May: We’ve now identified this as eutylone, a new cathinone. You can find harm reduction advice in our more detailed eutylone post.

UPDATE Saturday 19.00: After more analysis we believe this is not n-ethylpentylone as previously stated. It appears to be an unknown cathinone that we’re calling “C86”. The harm reduction advice remains the same – treat with caution. This substance is so new that we do not know of the health risks.

Original alert: N-ethylpentylone found in powder obtained as MDMA

KnowYourStuffNZ tested pills in Dunedin today and found a particularly dangerous substance called n-ethylpentylone an unknown cathinone that we’re calling “C86”.
Two samples of white powder in clear capsules from different sources were tested and each contained a mixture of n-ethylpentylone and ethylone this single substance. We have seen this substance previously at a summer event in the North Island.

N-ethylpentylone C86 is a stimulant from the cathinone family, also called “bath salts”. It may produce short-lived euphoria followed by a long period of overstimulation including racing heart, high blood pressure, anxiety, overheating, and inability to sleep for up to 36 hours. Cathinones have been associated with deaths overseas and hospitalisations in New Zealand. Because of the high redose compulsion and low active dose, it is very easy to overdose. You can read more about n-ethylpentylone at our website. We called it “this summer’s crap drug“. We don’t know what C86 is exactly, other than that it’s a cathinone and fairly similar in chemical structure to n-ethylpentylone.

The identified pills are medium sized clear capsules containing a chalky white powder that clumps together.

When tested with Marquis reagent the samples turned orange and with Mandelin they turned dark orange. These colour changes indicate a cathinone.

Testing with the more reliable FT-IR spectroscopy suggests these pills contain a mixture of of n-ethylpentylone and ethylone an unknown cathinone which we are calling C86 that is similar to n-ethylpentylone. The amount of n-ethylpentylone C86 present may vary between pills. Alternatively, this may be a new and unknown cathinone. Yup, it’s a new one alright.

It is possible that These pills have spread throughout New Zealand, being seen by KnowYourStuffNZ from one of the country to the other, therefore any substance that looks similar to this should be treated as dangerous regardless of your location.

N-ethylpentylone has been detected in powders and pills of various colours. In total, approximately 15% of “MDMA” tested over New Years was found to contain n-ethylpentylone.

Please approach all untested substances with extreme caution. C86 has not, to our knowledge, been seen before and there is no information about safety, dosage, risks, and interactions with other drugs. We recommend avoiding this.
– safest of all, do not take it
– if consuming, start small, start slow – take a third or less, and wait at least an hour before having more
– do not snort or inject
– do not mix with other substances, including alcohol
– do not take alone


If you think you may have inadvertently consumed n-ethylpentylone a cathinone and are concerned, please contact your nearest medical service and be honest about what you believe you have taken.

KnowYourStuffNZ is a not-for-profit social enterprise funded entirely by donations from the community. If you value our work, please donate.

Nosebleeds are the least of your worries – why snorting is a bad idea

Know Your Stuff-36

Remember when you were four and your Mum used to tell you not to put things up your nose?  Turns out lots of kiwis didn’t listen. According to Adam Winstock of the Global Drug Survey, 30% of kiwis who use MDMA insufflate (snort) it. That’s nearly twice the global average.

There’s a general view out there that snorting MDMA gives you more ‘bang for buck’ because when snorted the high comes on faster and more intensely.  However it also wears off faster, leading to higher likelihood of redosing – so over the course of an evening a user may end up taking more than usual, which is both expensive and risky. Snorting also carries its own set of risks:

  • Putting dry, potentially irritant powders on the nasal lining can lead to injury, loss of sense of smell, and long term respiratory problems.
  • When you snort a substance much of it goes directly to the bloodstream, bypassing the stomach and liver filters. This is what leads to the faster, more intense high.  However this lack of filtering can also exacerbate the negative effects of the drug, such as anxiety and nausea.
  • Faster routes of administration are associated with higher risk of forming dependence.
  • What if it’s not the drug you think it is?

This last one is a real concern in New Zealand. By now it’s old news that cathinone substitution is an issue here. We’ve talked about it at length this summer. We’ve found cathinones in samples presumed to be MDMA and in ones obtained as cocaine, both substances commonly snorted by kiwis.

Remember how we said above that a faster, more intense high can also exacerbate the negative effects? If the ‘MDMA’ is actually n-ethylpentylone and you snort 100mg of it, you’ve just bypassed the stomach and liver filters on a triple dose and you’re most likely in for a faster, more intense, up to 36-hour-long very unpleasant time that may well land you in hospital or worse. 


We hear this story far too often – someone snorts what they think is MDMA and then comes to us with a list of scary symptoms ending with “That definitely wasn’t MDMA.” The bottom line is that these people are lucky to be alive. While they have probably learned their lesson, there are still many people out there who snort powders without knowing how risky it is.

To lower your chances of death, remember the following:

  • Listen to your Mum – don’t put random stuff up your nose
  • Don’t let your friends put random stuff up their noses either
  • Unless it’s been tested, it’s *all* random stuff.

Stay safe out there NZ.

KnowYourStuffNZ is a not-for-profit social enterprise funded entirely by donations from the community. If you value our work, please donate.