N-bomb drug lands man in intensive care
The potent hallucinogenic drug known as ''N-bomb'' is now being blamed for two critical hospital admissions in Christchurch in less than a week.
NBOMe, a synthetic drug, has only recently emerged worldwide and has been linked to deaths overseas.
Detective Senior Sergeant Tony Hill this afternoon said police had noticed an increase in the presence of the series of NBOMe drugs in the city.
''The increasing activity is definitely of concern because of the risk to the health of those using synthetic drugs,'' Hill said.
Police were called to assist ambulance staff at a Woolston party where several men were reported to have taken 25B-NBOMe, a synthetic LSD-type substance, about 9pm on Saturday.
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Some of the men were reported to be ''highly aggressive, agitated and uncontrolled''.
Four were taken to hospital, and had to be restrained and accompanied by police while being transported. Three were discharged while one remains in hospital after suffering kidney and cardiac complications.
However, he was described as in "stable condition" this morning and out of intensive care.
Police inquiries were continuing and no charges have been laid in relation to the incident.
Hill said the incident was one of the first cases police were aware of where multiple people at an event were affected by NBOMe.
"Overseas research shows these drugs have been linked to a number of deaths, and the weekend incident here shows that the effects can be unpredictable and highly dangerous."
A Christchurch District Health Board spokeswoman this afternoon confirmed a separate incident where a person was admitted to hospital in a critical condition after taking the drug last week.
They spent time in intensive care but had since been released from hospital. No further details about the incident were available, the spokeswoman said.
The five admissions were the first the district health board had dealt with which had been linked to NBOMe, she said.
A Christchurch Hospital emergency spokesman said little was known about NBOMe drugs or its potential toxicity to humans.
The powerful hallucinogens, sold as white powder or capsules, had been linked to a recent death in Australia and other deaths overseas, he said.
"Recreational doses are measured in tiny microgram quantities so estimating a safe versus a dangerous dose is extremely difficult," he said.
He advised drug users and the public to avoid any drug sold as an NBOMe type because of the potential for serious harm.
DRUG COULD BE LETHAL
The series of synthetic drugs known as NBOMe, which mimic Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) can trigger hallucinations so powerful a teenager who thought he could fly threw himself off a building hours after taking the drug.
The NBOMe group is covered by the Psychoactive Substances Act and people supplying the synthetic drug face a maximum prison sentence of two years.
Environmental Science and Research (ESR) forensic general manager Dr Keith Bedford said the law should treat the NBOMe family like LSD - a Class A controlled drug along with heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine (P).
In 2013, Detective Inspector Stuart Mills, co-ordinator of police's drug intelligence bureau, raised concerns about the drug and its use in the community.
He warned NBOMe's "extreme newness" meant many people would not know what they were taking, which could have lethal consequences.
It was often sold in blotter tabs as LSD, which have a street value of $40, but also came in liquid and powder forms.
WHAT IS NBOME?
NBOMe is a potent series of synthetic hallucinogenic drugs which have been linked to deaths overseas.
The most common substances in the group are 25I-NBOMe, 25B-NBOMe and 25C-NBOMe.
They are often sold in blotter tabs by drug dealers as Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) because its effects are very similar.
The drugs are believed to be manufactured in China, but shipments from Europe and Canada have been intercepted by Customs.
In January this year police seized 1317 tabs. In all of last year, they seized 18,000 tabs, and 1290 the year before.