The brown power is believed to be behind three serious harm incidents. (file photo)
Whanganui Police are warning the public after a series of hospitalisations believed to be linked to consuming a brown powder being sold as MDMA in the area.
In a statement posted to Facebook, and linked to the High Alert website, police said the symptoms identified were not consistent with a typical MDMA overdose, leading police to believe the substance has been adulterated or misrepresented.
On its website, High Alert said there had been three serious harm events within 12 hours that it believed were linked to the brown powder, which was being sold in small plastic snap lock bags.
High Alert said it wasn’t known which substance was responsible for the harm, however reported symptoms included, rapid heart rate, vomiting, difficulty breathing, faintness, heart palpitations and loss of consciousness.
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“MDMA type substances can be adulterated/misrepresented, with numerous examples previously reported to High Alert. Synthetic cathinones, such as dimethylpentylone, are known to be in circulation in New Zealand,” its post said.
High Alert issued a warning in December after dimethylpentylone was misrepresented as MDMA and resulted in reports of negative experiences. The warning also follows recent reports of meth being in MDMA tablets.
High Alert urged extreme caution and warned people not to take any unknown powders. Testing is recommended to help minimise the risk, it said.
“If you think someone is suffering a medical emergency, call 111 immediately and ask for an ambulance. Always tell emergency responders what someone has taken – you won’t get in trouble, and it could save a life.”
Any unexpected or concerning effects from drugs can be reported through High Alert.
Anyone with information in relation to the manufacture and supply of illicit substances is asked to contact Whanganui Police on 105 or anonymously via Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.