Dang it! Back in lockdown (or Level 3 at least)

The good news is we’ve been here and done that so we’re much better prepared than we were the first time.

We’re still open, still doing the same stuff, the only difference is that until the level drops again we’ll be doing it mainly by phone or on Zoom (teleconferencing).

So get in contact if you’ve any concerns at all (in relation to substance use). It’s a stressful time for a whole lot of different reasons and rather than drink alcohol or use substances, call us up and we’ll find a way to help.

Return to Level 3 veterinary services at Franklin Vets

We’re getting back to business as usual now that the Covid-19 lockdown period is coming to an end.

We’ve learned to do things a bit differently because of Coronavirus. We can now use videoconferencing technology  to keep in contact if face to face options don’t suit.

Individual counselling and groups

We doing much more face to face work now as usual but are still available for appointments over the telephone or video conferencing if people prefer that. We’re pretty experienced at Zoom teleconferencing now, which we’ve found to be safe and secure. Some young people have even preferred to use Zoom which is fine by us.

We’re getting our group programme up and running again and are doing some groups by Zoom also and it’s been going great, especially for those who struggle with transport.

Keeping in touch

Our telephone service continues to run from 08:30 – 16:30 to answer questions, give support and take referrals.

Professional Consultation

Tell us what you think of Video Conferencing (Zoom)

via our duty phone 09 845 1893 or email alteredhigh@waitematadhb.govt.nz

If you’ve been a client during Covid-19, we’d love to hear what you think – click this link to complete a short survey.



Get With It group – start date

The next Get With It group is scheduled to start Tuesday 18 June 18:00 – . For more information click here.

Please call our Dutyline on 845 1893 to find out how you can join.


Whānau Group – Start Date Postponed

Please note – group will no longer be starting this Thursday. It has been postponed to next week Thursday 20 June 18:00 – 20:00. For more information click here

Please call our Dutyline on 845 1893 to find out how you can join.

#Be Careful Out There

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article

CADS is not responsible for the accuracy or adequacy of information accessed via these links

How does MDMA kill?

File 20190114 43541 14qd0qa.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
MDMA itself isn’t a dangerous drug. But adulterants found in drugs made by at-home chemists can be deadly. from http://www.shutterstock.com
Nicole Lee, Curtin University

MDMA (Methylenedioxymethamphetamine), commonly referred to as ecstasy, was manufactured as a potential pharmaceutical early last century. It had some limited use in the 1970s as a therapeutic aid in trauma treatment and in relationship counselling, and more recent studies using MDMA for trauma have shown some promise.

Structurally, MDMA is similar to the stimulant methamphetamine and to the hallucinogen mescaline, and so has both stimulant and mildly hallucinogenic effects.

Most problems with recreational MDMA are acute. Dependence and other long-term problems are quite rare. Less than 1% of all drug treatment presentations are for ongoing problems with MDMA, such as dependence.

Most fatalities from taking ecstasy are a result of a combination of factors, not just the drug itself.

Most of these conditions don’t result in death if they are treated early, but because of the stigma associated with using illicit drugs, sometimes people don’t seek help early enough. Any unusual or unwanted symptoms experienced while taking ecstasy should be treated as soon as they appear.

Read more: Six reasons Australia should pilot ‘pill testing’ party drugs

Contaminants and polydrug use

Most people are under the impression drugs are illegal because they are dangerous, but a drug’s legal status isn’t necessarily related to relative danger. In fact, drugs are much more dangerous because they are unregulated, manufactured by backyard chemists in clandestine laboratories.

Unlike alcohol, which is a highly regulated drug, there’s no way to tell how potent illicit drugs are or what’s in them, unless you test them.

In Australia, what is sold as ecstasy may contain a lot of MDMA or very little. Pills can contain other more dangerous drugs that mimic the effects of MDMA, and benign substances, such as lactose, as filler agents.

A recent report on findings from Australia’s first official pill testing trial at the Groovin’ the Moo music festival last year, found nearly half the pills tested were of low purity. Some 84% of people who had their pills tested thought they had bought MDMA but only 51% actually contained any MDMA.

Some of the more dangerous contaminants found in pills include PMA (paramethoxyamphetamine), which is more toxic at lower doses than ecstasy; N-Ethylpentylone, a cathinone which is a lot more potent than MDMA making it easier to take too much; and NBOMes (N-methoxybenzyl), which is more toxic at lower doses than other hallucinogenic drugs and can cause heart attack, renal failure, and stroke.

Pills have also been detected in UK and NZ with up to three doses of MDMA in a single pill.

Although it’s possible to take too much MDMA and experience severe toxic effects, as with other illicit drugs, most ecstasy-related deaths involve multiple drugs.

Sometimes these drug mixes are unexpected and sometimes people take multiple drugs deliberately. It’s safer for people using ecstasy to limit use of other drugs, including alcohol, to avoid risk of adverse effects.

Read more: While law makers squabble over pill testing, people should test their drugs at home


Heatstroke or hyperthermia (dangerously high body temperature) is one of the most common issues among people taking MDMA.

MDMA increases body temperature and sweating, and using it is often accompanied by physical activity (such as dancing) in a hot environment (such as a crowded venue or in the summer heat), exacerbating fluid loss. If you don’t have enough fluids your body can’t cool itself properly.

The effect of ecstasy can be exacerbated by consuming alcohol. Alcohol is a diuretic, so it makes you urinate more and increases dehydration. Dehydration increases risk of heatstroke.

Heatstroke can cause brain, heart, kidney and muscle damage, and if left untreated can cause serious complications or death.

If active, people taking MDMA should drink around 500ml (two cups) of water an hour and take regular breaks. Isotonic drinks (such as Powerade and Gatorade) are also OK.

MDMA increases body temperature and sweating, so users have to stay hydrated. from http://www.shutterstock.com

Water intoxication

People using MDMA can get really thirsty. Some is probably the direct effect of MDMA, some because they’re hot, and some from dehydration.

But if you have too much water the ratio of salts and water in the body becomes unbalanced – basically the level of salt in your body gets too low and your cells start swelling with water. The technical name is hyponatraemia.

MDMA is an anti-diuretic, so it makes you retain water, which can increase risk of water intoxication.

People may feel nausea with vomiting, confusion, severe fatigue, muscle weakness and cramps.

People taking ecstasy need to stay hydrated but only replace what is lost through sweating – around 500ml per hour if active and around 250ml an hour when inactive.

Serotonin syndrome

The main action of MDMA in the brain is an increase in serotonin, which among other things is responsible for regulating pro-social behaviour, empathy and optimism. This is why people who have taken MDMA feel connection with and positivity towards others.

But too much serotonin can result in “serotonin syndrome”. It typically occurs when other drugs that also raise serotonin levels (other stimulants, antidepressants) are taken together with MDMA.

Signs include high body temperature, agitation, confusion, problems controlling muscles, headache and the shakes. People might also experience seizures or loss of consciousness.

It can be fatal if the symptoms are left untreated, so if anyone taking MDMA shows any of these signs they should be treated immediately. It’s safer not to mix different types of drugs, especially if you do not know what’s in them.

Read more: Here’s why doctors are backing pill testing at music festivals across Australia

Other causes

More rarely, fatalities have been reported as a result of other health complications after taking ecstasy, especially if the person has pre-existing risk factors, such as high blood pressure or a heart condition. Complications related to heart failure, liver failure and brain haemorrhage have been reported in people already at high risk of these problems.

The number of people who die from party drugs is relatively low compared to other drugs such as heroin, alcohol, and pharmaceuticals. But the media tend to report a higher proportion of these deaths compared to other drugs, increasing the perception of harm. Most of the deaths are not directly from the drug itself but other complications or contaminants.

It’s safest not to take drugs at all, but if you choose to, it’s safer to take a small amount first (like a quarter of a pill) and wait at least an hour to make sure there are no ill effects; drink about 500ml per hour of water if active; and don’t mix drugs, including alcohol.

In the absence of a legal, uncontaminated supply of MDMA, when pill testing becomes available in Australia it will at least help people make informed decisions about drug use and reduce the risk of fatalities and other harms. People often choose not to take their pills, or take smaller amounts, when they discover contaminants.The Conversation

Nicole Lee, Professor at the National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University


Groups Update

The days of our groups are changing, but don’t worry, we have all the information right here!

Get With It group will be running on a Tuesday evening from 18:00-19:30. The next group starts on the 30th of April. For more information click here

Whānau Group group will be running on a Thursday evening from 18:00 – 20:00. The next one starts on the 9th of May. For more information click here

If you would like to talk to us about attending one of the groups feel free to call 09 845 1893 (Monday – Friday 08:30 – 16:30)

Synthetic cannabinoids – be careful out there!

You may already be aware through the media that there have been a number of deaths and multiple presentations to the ED’s across Auckland thought to be due to synthetic cannabis.

If you or anyone takes a substance and become acutely unwell, dial 111 and request an urgent ambulance.

Synthetic cannabinoids are much  more potent (strong) than natural cannabis (up to 20 times). They also act on the brain’s chemical signalling system more directly than natural cannabis (block brain receptors fully versus only partially). This means that their effects are way more stronger.

The recent deaths and presentations may be the result of some new super potent synthetic cannabinoid or the substance may be laced with other unknown chemicals . Alternatively it could be some completely unrelated substance or poison that is being sold as a ‘Synthetic’.

Be careful out there. Is it worth poisoning yourself (to death) just to get high?

If you or anyone takes a substance and become acutely unwell, dial 111 and request an urgent ambulance.

CADS Youth Service has lots of experience with helping people to detox and stop using synthetic cannabis (and natural cannabis). Refer yourself or your young person if you want more info or help.