A lethal chemical has been detected in illegal Ecstasy pills sold on the black market in Wellington.
Now, the New Zealand Drug Foundation is warning overdoses could become more common as a result.
Para-methoxyamphetamine (PMA) has been dubbed “Dr Death” by health professionals due to its high toxicity, and in the past two years has been linked to at least 27 deaths in Britain and Ireland.
A by-product of Ecstasy manufacture, PMA is believed to accidently contaminate batches of pills made by inexperienced drug cooks.
An investigation has identified PMA may be contaminating green pills bearing the picture of an apple, sold for around $50 each in Wellington in August and September.
The Irish Health and Safety Executive issued a public warning last year about “Green Apples” after they were linked to the deaths of two people in four days.