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  • Synthetic Cathinones Icon Synthetic Cathinones
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    • Wellington ,
    • Christchurch

A dangerous amount of eutylone has been detected in ‘Red Bull’ tablets in Christchurch and Wellington.

Pink red bull tablets - eutylone
How to identify the drug
  • Rectangle
  • Rounded corners
  • Over 1cm long
  • Red Bull logo
  • Weighs 440mg

A dangerous amount of eutylone, a synthetic cathinone, has been detected in pink ‘Red Bull’ tablets by drug testing service KnowYourStuffNZ (KYS).

KYS tested three of these tablets at their static testing clinic in Christchurch on 22 and 23 February. These tablets were found to contain 300-350mg of eutylone and no MDMA. This amount is dangerous and very likely to cause harm.

UPDATE 18 March 2021: KnowYourStuffNZ also detected eutylone in yellow 'Red Bull' tablets during testing in Wellington. These pills may contain up to 200mg of eutylone, and contain no MDMA. The same harm reduction advice applies.

High Alert strongly urges people not to take this tablet. While no drug use is the safest drug use, testing of any tablets is recommended to help lower the risks. If you cannot get to a clinic, a reagent test can be used to test for eutylone. With the Cosmic EZTest or the Hemp Store Marquis test, cathinones will turn yellow, instead of the black that MDMA gives.

People who have taken similar doses have reported not being able to sleep for days, anxiety, paranoia and feeling unwell for up to ten days after. It is possible this could be a fatal dose.

It’s likely these tablets are being sold as MDMA. It is unknown how widespread the circulation of these tablets are.

If you have heard of any reports of these tablets, or have any concerns, please let us know. The alert ID is N20/0017. All submissions are anonymous.

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How to recognise symptoms of the drug

Eutylone is also known as bk-EBDB and is in the cathinone family of drugs, sometimes called “bath salts”.  It can produce euphoric effects, like MDMA, but the effects generally wear off after an hour. This increases the risk of re-dosing, as it might be assumed it’s a weak MDMA. Following that, there may still be feeling of stimulation, but not euphoria, as well as paranoia and anxiety.

It can affect people differently based on factors like weight, the amount taken, whether other drugs are taken around the same time, or whether a person is used to taking it.

Eutylone impacts the ability to sleep, with reports of people being unable to sleep for more than 48 hours. Other risks include anxiety, headaches, stomach upsets, agitation, and paranoia.

High Alert has received a number of reports of people who have needed medical help, including seizures and induced comas. The worst outcome is vomiting, convulsions, and possibly death.

How to reduce harm from the drug

No drug use is the safest drug use. High Alert strongly urges people not to take this substance at all. It is indistinguishable from MDMA by eye, so testing is recommended to help minimise the risk.

A drug checking service can provide more detailed information about the contents of your drugs. KnowYourStuffNZ is running a drug testing clinic at the OUSA Clubs & Societies building in Dunedin on Thursday, Friday and Saturday (25-27 February) from 12pm-6pm.

If drug checking services are unavailable, reagent tests are a good way to minimise the risk. With the Cosmic EZTest or the Hemp Store Marquis test, cathinones will turn yellow, instead of the black that MDMA gives.

If you have taken eutylone, don’t take any more. Rest, eat, and wait it out. Avoid mixing it with other substance, especially cannabis, alcohol, and caffeine. Definitely don’t try to drive.

If you have a racing heart, elevated temperature, extreme anxiety, numb, tingling, or cold fingers or toes, or haven’t slept for more than 24 hours, don’t wait. Seek medical help.  When you are safe, please tell us about your experience.

If you are looking after someone who has taken eutylone, help them to stay calm and remind them that they will just have to wait it out. Staying on the couch and bingeing TV might not sound like an exciting time, but it’s the best thing they can do in this situation.

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.

Always call an ambulance if someone:

  • is unconscious;
  • stops breathing;
  • has a seizure;
  • is extremely agitated for longer than 15 minutes;
  • has chest pain or breathing difficulties for longer than 5 minutes.

If you have heard of any reports of this drug, please let us know through the Report unusual effects page, the alert ID is  N20/0017. All submissions are anonymous.

Are you concerned about your own drinking or drug taking? Reach out to the Alcohol Drug Helpline on 0800 787 797, or text 8681. You'll be able to speak with a trained counsellor who can provide you with helpful information, insight and support. They’re available 24/7, all calls are free and confidential.

You can also chat to the Alcohol Drug Helpline team online through the website, or:

  • Call the Māori Line on 0800 787 798 for advice and referral to kaupapa Māori services.
  • Call the Pasifika Line on 0800 787 799 for advice and referral to services developed for Pacific people.
  • Call the Youth Line on 0800 787 984 for advice and referral to services for young people.