Students’ adverse reactions to fake MDMA spark alert

Photo: Know Your Stuff NZ
Photo: Know Your Stuff NZ
A group of Dunedin students were left violently shaking and feeling "like death" after taking what they now believe was fake MDMA.

Drug-checking organisation Know Your Stuff NZ yesterday issued an alert after testing revealed that some drugs being sold as MDMA were in fact a stimulant known colloquially as bath salts.

The substance has been linked to psychological effects such as confusion, acute psychosis, agitation, aggression, violent and self-destructive behaviour paranoia, hallucinations, and delusions.

Three flatmates described getting "messed up" after taking what they believed was bath salts sold to them as MDMA.

The drug made one of the flatmates violently shake and they all felt "like death" the next day.

Speaking from the confines of one of the flatmate’s bed, the three students looked worse for wear after a long night partying at an O Week flat party in Castle St.

One of the flatmates, who declined to be named, said the three "could not" get out of the bed and away from their "cuddle puddle".

The young men said moving felt "like death" and one of them was sitting against the wall unable to speak or stop shaking.

Another flatmate who did not take the drugs said his three flatmates were not out of control for most of the night, but nearer the end one of them started to violently shake on the couch for about three minutes before disappearing to his room.

"I’m seriously glad I didn’t touch whatever they had last night. No way that was actually gear [MDMA]."

The flatmates got their MDMA from "an acquaintance of an acquaintance who kind of knew this random guy" and not their usual man.

"Our main guy, he’s never steered us wrong, his stuff never had us feeling this grim."

The trio had not had the drugs tested before using them, and when asked, said even if they had done they would have "probably still done the drugs".

The flatmate who did not do the drugs said it was a question of personal pros and cons.

"For me, if I got my gear tested and it was bath salts, I would probably bin it, but that’s because for me the cons outweigh the pros.

"For these three, though, it’s the other way around, the pros outweigh the cons and money is money."

One of the young men in bed said "tomorrow is tomorrow. I think about the good time tonight".

"I’m poor, and some people think it’s stupid to spend the last of my money on drugs, but hey, that’s what I did.

"I’m not about to bin the last of my money."

A Know Your Stuff NZ spokesman said MDMA was consumed frequently among the young population in North Dunedin and they had a few samples of novel synthetic cathinone, or bath salts, come through their clinic on Thursday.

"Novel synthetic cathinone are unpredictable, meaning that cases of overdose must be taken seriously.

"If you are concerned you have taken a large amount dial 111 or visit R U Ok [if you are attending an Ori event]."