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Drug Foundation Warns Some LSD Circulating Is More Dangerous Drug

The Drug Foundation is urging caution after drug checking services at Rhythm and Vines (RnV) found paper tabs sold as LSD were in fact the potent psychedelic and stimulant, 25B-NBOH.

The samples were tested by the Drug Foundation’s drug-checking team at RnV over the New Year period. Secondary testing by ESR this week determined that the tabs contained 25B-NBOH. The drug was found on tabs of different colours and patterns and had come from more than one region. 

Drug Foundation Executive Director Sarah Helm says people planning to take LSD, often called acid, which is generally regarded as a lower harm substance, should be aware that 25B-NBOH is circulating on paper tabs that are misrepresented as LSD.

“Because this is a relatively new drug, there isn’t much known about its toxicity, but we can take clues from similar drugs, such as 25I-NBOMe, which has caused hospitalisations and deaths worldwide,” says Helm. 

“25B-NBOH can be active even at very tiny doses, so it’s difficult to dose accurately and may increase your risk of overdose.” 

The NZ Drug Foundation checked 748 samples at the Rhythm and Vines festival over the New Year period. KnowYourStuffNZ provided drug checking at several other festivals around the country. Thousands of samples have been tested by drug checking services like KnowYourStuff, ESR, NZNEP and the Drug Foundation this summer. 

“These 25B-NBOH samples prove drug-checking’s worth, having clearly prevented serious harm to people who would have otherwise taken them,” says Helm. 

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“However, we are very concerned there are likely to still be quantities of this drug in the community. It’s one we’re particularly concerned about so we’re asking people to proceed with caution if planning to take tabs that they’ve bought as LSD.” 

Also identified at Rhythm and Vines were known synthetic canthinones: cyputylone, dimethylpentylone, eutylone and n-ethylpentylone.

"One of the perils of drugs being banned rather than regulated is that it acts as an incentive on the illegal market to create new, novel and more potent substances. We encourage people to get their drugs checked, whether they are tabs, powders or crystals," says Helm.

If you’re planning on taking LSD, the Drug Foundation recommends:

  • Taking it to a free, legal and confidential drug checking clinic to find out what’s really in it.
  • Alternatively, check it at home using an Ehrlich’s reagent test, which can be purchased from The Hemp Store or Cosmic Corner. The Level has instructions on how to use Ehrlich’s reagent to test your LSD.
  • Remember: ‘If it’s bitter, it’s a spitter.’ LSD generally does not have a bitter taste, however drugs in the NBOMe family can.
  • Start low and go slow. 25B-NBOH and similar drugs can have very different doses to LSD, and the dose may not be distributed evenly over the tab. Take a small amount of the tab and wait at least an hour to see how you feel.
  • Know the signs of an overdose from 25B-NBOH and get help if needed. These may include:
  • Severe agitation, anxiety, or psychosis
  • Vomiting
  • Abnormal heart rate
  • Having a fever
  • Having seizures
  • Passing out.

If you or someone around you has taken a tab and experiences any of these symptoms, or other worrying symptoms, call 111 or get medical help as soon as possible.

You can report unusual drug effects anonymously to High Alert, New Zealand’s drug warning system.

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