Toxic chemical sold as 1,4-BD in Auckland
- Toxic chemicals
The toxic chemical diethylene glycol being sold as the recreational drug 1,4-Butanediol (1,4-BD) in Auckland.
How to identify the drug
- Viscous liquid
- Clear, colourless
- Practically odourless
- Sweetish taste
This notification is to advise of the toxic chemical diethylene glycol being sold as the recreational drug 1,4-Butanediol (1,4-BD) in Auckland. 1,4-BD, like GBL, is a converted to GHB when ingested, producing identical effects.
Diethylene glycol has been linked to a suspected poisoning case in Auckland where the affected individual has been hospitalised in a critical condition. A sample of the substance was tested by the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR) and found to contain diethylene glycol.
High Alert strongly urges people not to take this substance at all. It is indistinguishable from 1,4-BD, GHB and GBL by eye, so testing is recommended to help minimise the risk. Drug checking services will likely be able to test for diethylene glycol. KnowYourStuffNZ is running regular drug checking clinics over the summer. Information on upcoming clinics can be found on their website and Facebook page.
Diethylene glycol is found in a wide range of industrial products and can be toxic in very low doses. It is used in the production of multiple different products including antifreeze, brake fluids, wallpaper strippers, and as a plasticiser.
It's possible it will continue to be sold in the community.
How to recognise symptoms:
Early symptoms of diethylene glycol consumption can include nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain, as well as inebriation.
Other symptoms can be delayed more than 48 hours after use including abnormal urination, abdominal/lower back pain, weakness, and shortness of breath.
How to reduce harm:
High Alert strongly discourages people from taking this substance at all. It is indistinguishable from 1,4-BD, GHB and GBL by eye, so testing is recommended to help minimise the risk. Drug checking services will likely be able to test for diethylene glycol.
Check KnowYourStuffNZ's drug checking clinic calendar here, or follow their Facebook page for more information about their clinics.
The National Poisons Centre is available 24/7 to help with advice for exposures to this, or any other substance - please call 0800 764 766 (0800 POISON).
Always call 111 immediately and ask for 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.
Always tell emergency responders what someone has taken – you won’t get in trouble, and it could save a life.
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.