• Notification Icon Notification
  • Synthetic Cathinones Icon Synthetic Cathinones
  • Synthetic Cathinones Icon
    • Nationwide ,
    • Dunedin

The synthetic cathinone dimethylpentylone has been detected for the first time in New Zealand.

Dimethylpentylone Pink Playboy (Cropped)
How to identify the drug
  • Pink pill
  • Approx 1cm long
  • 'Playboy' logo
  • Also detected as white crystal

This notification is to advise of a new synthetic cathinone detected for the first time in New Zealand. Dimethylpentylone was found in two samples tested by KnowYourStuffNZ in Dunedin, including in a pink ‘Playboy’ tablet that was sold as MDMA. 

High Alert strongly discourages people from taking this substance. Testing of any tablets or powder is recommended to help lower the risks.

It's likely tablets containing dimethylpentylone are in circulation and being sold as MDMA. KnowYourStuffNZ and the NZ Drug Foundation are running drug checking clinics across the country throughout summer to help reduce harm - check the schedule here.

If you have heard of any reports of this drug, please let us know! The alert ID is N21/0022. All submissions are anonymous.

How to recognise symptoms from the drug:

Dimethylpentylone is also known as bk‑DMBDP and is a synthetic cathinone (sometimes called “bath salts”). There is currently no information on the substance's health risks, long-term side effects, or dosage, which makes its use riskier than the use of more common, well-studied substances.

There is limited information about the effects of dimethylpentylone at different dosage levels. Other synthetic cathinones have lower active doses than MDMA – meaning people may unexpectedly take a larger dose than intended.

The person who brought in one of the samples for checking shared they had taken the substance and described the experience as “very unenjoyable”. They also experienced a bad comedown, during which they felt anxious.

The physical effects of dimethylpentylone are also unknown but are likely similar to other synthetic cathinones:

  • Stimulation
  • High blood pressure, rapid heart rate
  • Inability for body to regulate temperature
  • Appetite suppression
  • Compulsive redosing
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Death

In general, synthetic cathinones can cause a person to feel anxious, agitated, and paranoid. Some people also experience headaches, stomach aches and have difficulty sleeping. There have also been situations in New Zealand where people have lost consciousness or had seizures and required medical attention. 

How to reduce harm from the drug:

High Alert strongly discourages people from taking this substance. A drug checking service can provide more detailed information about the contents of your drugs. 

Check KnowYourStuffNZ's drug checking clinic calendar here.

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

Seek medical help immediately if you have a racing heart, high temperature, extreme anxiety, numb, tingling, cold fingers or toes, or haven’t slept for more than 24 hours.

If you are looking after someone who has taken dimethylpentylone, help them to stay calm and remind them they will just have to wait it out.

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.

More hard reduction information on synthetic cathinones is available on the NZ Drug Foundation’s website, The Level.

If you have heard of any reports of this drug, please let us know through the Report unusual effects page, the alert ID is N21/022. All submissions are anonymous.

Stay safer by staying informed. Sign up to receive alerts and notifications about any dangerous drugs in NZ. Check out the alerts page to see what we've already found.

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.