Amphetamines are commonly known as speed or go-eey in New Zealand. They belong to a group of drugs called ‘psychostimulants' that stimulate the central nervous system. Amphetamines speed up the messages going to and from the brain to the body.

Methamphetamine (meth) is one of a number of amphetamine-type drugs. Some have medical uses and are made by pharmaceutical companies. However, most meth used in New Zealand is made in illegal ‘labs’. Meth is a stimulant drug available in pill, powder, crystal or liquid forms. It can be swallowed, snorted or injected but is most commonly smoked in a glass pipe or bong.

Most amphetamines are sold illegally containing a mixture of pure amphetamines and other substances such as sugar, glucose, bicarbonate of soda and ephedrine. These additives can be highly poisonous. They can cause collapsed veins, tetanus, abscesses and damage to the heart, lungs, liver and brain. And because the user doesn't know whether they are using 5 per cent or 50 per cent pure amphetamines, it is easy to overdose by accident.

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Benzodiazepines (sometimes called ‘benzos') are depressants that work by slowing down the messages going to and from the brain to the body, including physical, mental and emotional responses. The benzodiazepine group contains more than twenty-four specific pharmaceutical drugs, each of which is sold under one or more brand names, are most often prescribed in tablet or capsule form, and come in a variety of colours and shapes.


Cannabis is the most commonly used illicit drug in New Zealand. Cannabis is a depressant drug. Depressant drugs do not necessarily make the person feel depressed, rather, they affect the central nervous system by slowing down the messages going to and from the brain to the body. It is possible that cannabis use can trigger psychotic episodes in a person who already has a tendency to mental illness.

Important article to read about the long term effects on cannabis on the teenagers brain


Cocaine is a drug derived from the leaves of the coca plant which is found mainly in Peru and Bolivia. It is a stimulant because it speeds up the messages going to and from the brain. It comes in the form of a white powder and has the scientific name cocaine hydrochloride.

Ecstasy and pingers

Ecstasy or MDMA [MethyleneDioxyMethAmphetamine] is a stimulant because it speeds up the central nervous system. It is a synthetic drug usually sold as small tablets, in a variety of colours and sizes, but also comes in capsules or powder.

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Inhalants are a range of volatile substances (many of which are familiar household items) which, when vaporised and inhaled, may cause the user to feel intoxicated or ‘high'. Inhalants are ‘depressants', which doesn't necessarily mean that they make you feel depressed, rather they slow down the activity of the brain and central nervous system, including physical, mental and emotional responses.

Synthetic Cannabis

Synthetic cannabinoids are smokable products containing varieties of plant matter that have been infused with synthetic cannabis-like substances. They act in a similar way to cannabinoids naturally found in cannabis. These products were intended to be a legal alternative to cannabis, although most are now banned because of safety concerns.

There are hundreds of cannabinoid compounds and manufacturers are constantly changing compositions to produce new products and to keep in step with new legal controls.

They are generally smoked and different blends are available offering different effects. They can be purchased in a range of quantities, for example, by the gram, ounce or pre-rolled like a ‘joint’.

As of 17 August 2012 , the Government announced a ban on 43 synthetic cannabis substances (including Kronic). Alternative Names: Kronic, Spice, Dream, Aroma, Tai High, K2, legal cannabis, legal pot, legal weed, herbal highs.

KEEP CALM AND KEEP TO THE FACTS: NZ Drug Foundation and Odyssey Foundation Auckland

Drug Help Now

Alcohol Drug Help line

A new 0800 number to help the public report concerns about psychoactive substances in their community has been launched. The Psychoactive Substance Hotline number is 0800 789 652.

This Hotline means that members of the public can now report their concerns about individuals, retail outlets and psychoactive substances knowing that the Ministry of Health and Police will act on reports. Community reporting had already led to legal high shops being closed and individuals being prosecuted where they had contravened the Psychoactive Substances Act.

POT Help

A website made for people who are concerned about how Cannabis is affecting their lives – whether it’s because of their own use or because someone close to them has a problem.
This website is also an on-line treatment programme, to help people reduce or cease cannabis use.
The website will be supported in the longer-term by a hard-copy resource, at the moment it is all on-line.

New Zealand National Poison Centre

Don't hesitate to contact the National Poison Centre for support and advice if you are worried about serious reactions from substance abuse. 

The National Poisons Centre is New Zealand's only poison and hazardous chemicals information centre and runs a 24-hour 7-day toll free emergency telephone service. The Centre currently answers around 30,000 telephone enquires each year, as well as many more enquiries through information provided on our TOXINZ website.
The main role of the National Poisons Centre is to provide advice to members of the public and health care professionals about acute poisoning situations. This can involve:
-Hazardous creatures (e.g. spiders, snakes, jellyfish)
-Plants and fungi

The NPC gives advice on what to do in situations of poisoning or where poisoning might occur. This includes:
-If someone has swallowed, inhaled or injected a substance
-If someone has got a substance in their eye(s) or on their skin
-If someone has been bitten or stung by a hazardous creature
-Advice on preventing poisonings in the home
-General first aid advice for poisonings

They also :
-Maintain an internet database on chemicals, medicines, plants and animals
-Provide prevention information packs to parents, schools and other organizations
-Monitor poisoning statistics to identify targeted prevention strategies

alcohol and drug support agencies in taupo

arc Counselling Services
For addiction counselling services

Address: Ruapehu Wing, Waiora House, 129 Spa Rd, Taupo 3330
Phone: 07-377 1132 or 0800 227 5272

Te Utihina Manaakitanga Trust
Young people's alcohol and drug counselling service

Address: Tauhara Wing, Waiora House, 129 Spa Rd, Taupo 3330 
Phone: Taupo 07 3770817
             Rotorua 07 3483598 (Head office)