By Andrew McMartin
Auckland police are working to find the suppliers of an illicit drug, thought to be GHB, that's seen seven people hospitalised in two days.
It comes amid concerns some are using the drug to enhance sexual encounters while others fear it could trigger an increase HIV.
Six women and a man all hospitalised within 48 hours - the main suspect - party drug GHB.
The spate of incidents has police fearing the worst.
"GHB in particular is consumed in very small doses and they can easily overdose on it, so they are taking their lives into their own hands," says detective senior Sergeant Marica Murray.
Among those hospitalised, two people found at an Auckland brothel. A woman was rushed to hospital in a critical condition and a man in a serious condition.
Experts are concerned a more powerful form of the drug could be in circulation.
"It may well be a different form of GHB on the street right now because drugs like this can come in different levels of potency and this particular substance is very dangerous if you get it wrong in terms of its usage," says Denz director Colin Bramfitt.
The Class B drug, also known as Fantasy, is said to provide euphoric highs and a feeling of tranquillity.
It's commonly used as a date rape drug, while others are increasingly using it to enhance sexual encounters, so much so, a new website was launched three days ago to warn against the risky practice, saying it could also increase the spread of HIV.
Mr Bramfitt says the drug helps people lose inhibition which can have serious consequences.
"The drug has been linked to sexual activity for years really. It is a concern GHB has raised its head like this because it is potentially very dangerous and could in effect result in fatalities if people get it wrong," says Mr Bramfitt.
"Our message to people is stay safe. Don't take illegal substances because you are putting your lives at risk," says Srgt Murray.
So, no matter if the drugs used to party, or in private, police are urging people to think twice.