University orientation week drug testing reveals high levels of eutylone instead of MDMA

Ecstasy tablets on black background

A Kiwi drug harm reduction service has revealed concerningly high levels of eutylone, which is often referred to as "bath salts", were found in what university orientations week partiers thought were MDMA pills.

KnowYourStuffNZ has revealed that of the samples tested on Monday at orientation week events for Canterbury and Lincoln University students, 40 percent turned out to contain eutylone - including two pressed pills that contained only eutylone and no MDMA.

In Dunedin last week, they found 45 percent of samples brought by people who thought they had MDMA were actually eutylone.

"We saw a lot of this at New Years and it's still around," KnowYourStuffNZ said in a statement on Tuesday. "Eutylone has been linked to a number of hospitalisations, and a much larger number of people just having a terrible, scary time, with some feeling unwell up to 10 days later."

Usually, eutylone feels like the user has taken MDMA but after an hour or so the euphoria fades.

"You may think it is weak MDMA and be tempted to take more. Don't," KnowYourStuff said.

"We are hearing far too many tales of miserable experiences with eutylone - In some cases, people have had to wait more than 48 hours before they could sleep."

Risks from eutylone include anxiety, headaches, stomach upsets, agitation, and paranoia, with the worst outcomes: vomiting, convulsions, and possibly death.

"We know of at least two people who have needed medical help, one of whom was having seizures."

KnowYourStuff said you cannot tell the difference between MDMA and eutylone based on sight or smell, so getting drugs tested was particularly important.

"If you can’t test them, seriously consider not taking them."