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.

Most amphetamines are produced in backyard laboratories and sold illegally. It usually appears as a whitish yellow powder, and occasionally in liquid form.

Most amphetamines sold illegally contain 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.


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 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.


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.

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.