A dangerous substitute has been found in the popular party drug MDMA during orientation weeks held at Christchurch and Dunedin universities.
Drug-testing service KnowYourStuffNZ discovered an increase of synthetic cathinone known as eutylone, being sold as MDMA, or ecstasy, this week.
About 40 per cent of the samples brought by people thinking they had MDMA during O-week tests have turned out to contain the substitute.
Side effects include not being able to sleep for days, anxiety, paranoia and in some cases it can be fatal
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According to KnowYourStuffNZ, the pill is more dangerous than one that hospitalised 13 people in Christchurch in 2018.
Managing director Wendy Allison said people taking this thinking their using MDMA might be in overdose territory.
She said it's worse than the bad batch that left a 15 year-old, and 12 others, in hospital, in 2018.
Allison said that's because people tend to use larger amounts of eutylone and that leads to difficulties quickly.