High numbers of patients arriving Christchurch Hospital’s Emergency Department over the weekend with side effects associated from ecstasy has led to fears of a bad batch circulating the region.

The ED reported nine patients arriving on Saturday night and into Sunday Feb 25 with an agitated state, with dangerously high blood pressure and an elevated high heart rate.  Christchurch hosted the one-day Electric Avenue festival in neighbouring Hagley Park on Saturday.

Because the presentations to ED happened in a short space of time and in one place, the Canterbury District Health Board has issued a warning that a faulty batch may be responsible.

“We want to warn the public of the risks of taking Ecstasy and similar drugs, and that because of a possibly faulty batch, the risk in Christchurch at this particular time is greater than ever,” the statement said.

It also emphasised that people can never be sure exactly what is in an illicitly supplied drug, and that the effects on your health can be severe and long-lasting, even fatal.

Do not take this drug, and if you or someone you know has taken some and is experiencing unusually severe effects or symptoms as listed below, call 111 or get a ‘sober driver’ to drive you to ED straight away. If you know someone who has a supply, please advise them of this message.

If you have recently obtained a supply of this drug, our advice is to destroy it. The best course of action in this case would be to flush it -not normally a recommended method of disposal for any drug, but preferable to keeping the drug and safer than disposing to landfill.

The Emergency Department advises that people who have taken this batch of MDMA may be agitated, have dangerously high blood pressure or a racing heart. Damage to the heart can be permanent and other effects of the drug can lead to longer term mental health problems. Severe effects such as kidney failure, heart attacks and seizures may also occur.

Other symptoms and immediate effects of MDMA typically include:

  • Dehydration
  • Hyperthermia – very high body temperature
  • Grinding teeth and clenching of the jaw
  • Insomnia
  • Increased perspiration and sweating.

For an example of the potential severity of MDMA poisoning, visit The Poison Review.

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