People are being warned to stay away from illicit party drugs after thirteen people were hospitalised in Christchurch, possibly from taking a dodgy batch of ecstasy.
Nine people turned up at Christchurch Hospital's emergency department on Saturday night with symptoms and side effects associated with having taken an MDMA-containing substance, more commonly known as ecstasy.
Four more people were admitted to hospital on Monday showing similar symptoms, a Canterbury District Health Board spokesperson says.
Doctors at the emergency department say this was a high number of patients coming in within such a short space of time and was not something they had seen before.
Because of this, they believe a faulty batch may be responsible for the influx.
"We want to warn the public of the risks of taking ecstasy and similar drugs, and that because of a possibly faulty batch, the risk in Christchurch at this particular time is greater than ever," the DHB says.
They arrived in an agitated state, with dangerously high blood pressure and an elevated high heart rate.
The DHB says it is better to flush the drug than to keep it or dispose of it in a landfill.
Damage to the heart can be permanent and other effects of the drug can lead to longer term mental health problems. Severe effects such as kidney failure, heart attacks and seizures may also occur.
Other symptoms and immediate effects of MDMA typically include dehydration, very high body temperature, grinding teeth and clenching of the jaw, insomnia and increased perspiration and sweating.
Canterbury Police say they are aware that several people had come into the hospital's emergency department with symptoms associated with the use of the drug.
"It's important to remember that illicit drugs are generally manufactured by people who profit above all else and do not consider the health and wellbeing of users," A police media spokesperson says.
"Illicit pills such as 'Ecstasy' or MDMA often contain a wide variety of substances, and sometimes don't even contain the drug the user believes they are taking.
"The easiest way to prevent yourself from harm associated with illicit drug use is to not take them in the first place."