25 February 2021
Australia comes second in dangerous-new-drug taking
Novel party pills that have similar effects to cocaine and MDMA have been found in wastewater around the world.
It’s difficult to track the rise of these new designer drugs because teenagers don’t like being asked probing questions, but researchers from the University of South Australia have found a workaround.
They shipped samples of wastewater to their lab in Australia from all over the world – including 14 sites from New Zealand, China, The Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Norway, Australia and the US.
The researchers looked for 200 different types of new psychoactive substances and found 16 in the samples, with methcathinone and N-ethylpentylone being the most common.
Use of N-ethylpentylone has killed people in Australia, New Zealand and the US in the past.
Designer drug usage was highest in The Netherlands, followed by Australia, New Zealand and the US.
Another cocaine-like drug called mephedrone (which also goes by the names: drone, M-CAT, White Magic and meow meow) saw a 20-fold spike in usage in New Zealand around the time of New Year’s Eve, according to the study published in Water Research.
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