The number of seizures of GHB/GBL, also known as liquid E, in Wellington has nearly tripled in the year since 2019.
Data obtained by the Herald through the Official Information Act has revealed the number of recorded seizures of the drug in the Wellington Police district during 2019 was 13, which grew to 37 in 2020.
In the three years prior, there were six recorded seizures per year in the district.
The jump wasn't echoed in other major centres: Auckland had a rise in seizures of five, from 26 to 31, and Canterbury had a drop.
GHB, and the more potent GBL, are anti-depressants that can cause euphoria, decreased inhibitions and a higher libido.
On top of the rise in seizures, the number of charges laid also increased significantly in the district, with possession to supply fantasy-like drugs, including GHB, GBL and DB, going from none in 2019, to 25 in 2020.
Across the nation this was also not reflected; most other police districts had relatively steady numbers.
In a statement, police said the increase in seizures was likely because of operation Skipjack, the ongoing investigation into an alleged local drug-dealing syndicate importing and distributing controlled drugs.
Anecdotally, police said the district had more frequent seizures of GBL in the past year and often in larger quantities than previously.
"It is possible that the increased use and demand for this drug is linked to methamphetamine use as GBL is often used in combination with methamphetamine."
Last week a 34-year-old Wellington man, who is already facing charges in relation to the supply of GBL, was charged with eight further counts of importing GBL.
"Police allege the imports equate to around 2000 litres of GBL, and 400,000 street-level doses. The man has also been charged with manufacturing methamphetamine."
A 34-year-old Wellington man, who is already facing charges in relation to the supply of the Class B controlled drug Gamma Butyrolactone (GBL), has been charged with eight further counts of importing GBL.
This comes after recent record seizures of the drug in the capital, including 400 litres of GBL in November last year.
Last year, Wellington Hospital's Emergency Department said they had noticed an increase in people overdosing from the drug, which is also known as rinse.
Emergency medicine specialist and clinical toxicologist Paul Quigley told the Herald then they were dealing with two to three users a weekend and said the patients were often in a life-threatening state.
Risks associated with the drug include seizures, loss of consciousness, overdose and death.
Earlier this month, Wellington police warned partygoers to be "vigilant" after two recent incidents where people passed out in local bars after taking what they thought was ecstasy.
Area prevention manager Detective Senior Sergeant Warwick McKee said some members of the community were taking party-type pills believing they were MDMA or ecstasy - but there was a chance the pills might actually be the "much more dangerous" eutylone.
Two weekends ago there were two separate incidents in the inner city where people had taken pills and fallen unconscious in bars or nightclubs, and had to receive ambulance and medical treatment, he said.