Students having to be hospitalised after taking ''bad drugs''
has prompted a call for regulation.
Paramedics were called to a bar on Monday night, after
concerns four patrons appeared ''grossly intoxicated'',
Dunedin alcohol harm reduction officer Sergeant Ian Paulin
''On closer examination it appears they were having drug
issues and they were taken via ambulance to the emergency
department,'' he said.
Sgt Paulin could not confirm the drug was MDMA, known by the
street name ecstasy, as he was yet to talk to those affected.
''[There] seems to be some sort of bad drugs around,'' Sgt
He had a simple message for drug users.
''If you are taking something and you don't know where it is
from and it has potential to do some serious harm to you ...
would you inject or consume something that could potentially
kill you?''Drug Foundation executive Ross Bell said when
people bought ''ecstasy'' in New Zealand it often contained
''There is a global shortage of MDMA and manufacturers have
realised it is cheaper to cook unknown or new substances in
Recent ''ecstasy'' tablets seized by police were tested and
found to contain BZP, caffeine, methamphetamine and
''We need to have a regulated market where we don't just rely
on 'buyer beware'.''
With the black market, ''you would never know what you were
buying off the street'', Mr Bell said.
''Not so long ago we had a legal market for psychoactive
substances and we knew who was selling them, what was in
them, they had health warnings but Parliament chose to stop
that approach and leave it up to the black market. We are
letting the black market rule and these are the obvious
The Otago University Students' Association reminded people
''partying slightly outside of the law'' to be responsible,
and look after their friends.