Drug testing body Know Your Stuff NZ have issued an alert to drug users over a new synthetic cannabinoid which is being sold as MDMA.
This is the first time that the compound, MDMB-5Br-INACA, has been found in New Zealand.
Know Your Stuff reported that it was brought to them for testing in the central North Island after a user reported "extreme and rapid anxiety" after taking it believing they were taking MDMA.
The growing family of synthetic cannabinoids continues to fracture into multiple branches as underground chemists attempt to get around bans by tweaking their recipe.
MDMB-5Br-INACA has also been found recently in the US, with scientists there stating that a Chinese drug ban was fuelling the changes.
"New synthetic cannabinoids continue to emerge among the recreation drug supply internationally, seemingly as replacements after a synthetic cannabinoid class-wide ban implemented by China in July 2021," the Indianapolis-Marion County Forensic Services Agency wrote in May.
Synthetic cannabinoids have a deadly history in Aotearoa, killing more than 70 and having a considerable impact on users' health and wellbeing.
Know Your Stuff states that they recommend not taking MDMB-5Br-INACA and urged anyone planning on taking a substance they believe to be MDMA to get it tested first at one of their clinics.
"Right now we're in the f*** around part of the f*** around and find out process when it comes to synthetic cannabinoids and novel cathinones," they wrote.
"Which is fine if you knowingly consent to being part of that experiment. It's not fine if you didn't consent and found out when you bought 'MDMA' which is actually something that's more harmful when taken in MDMA-level doses."