Fentanyl is entering into the New Zealand drug scene and it's genuinely scary. So we were stoked to talk about Today FM journalist Wilhelmina Shrimpton about how to stay safe from it, how dangerous it is, and even what happened when 13 people overdosed on the stuff at Matariki weekend.
Fentanyl is a legitimate painkiller used in hospitals, however, Wilhelmina tells us “in the wrong hands with the wrong dogs on the streets, it can be deadly. It’s 100x stronger than morphine and 50x stronger than heroin.”
Wilhelmina mentions that drug cartels mix Fentanyl into common recreational drugs just because it saves them money: “they have no conscience.”
She says the one way to identify if there’s Fentanyl in your drugs is to get your stuff tested. If you don’t, possible treatments are very under-resourced in NZ, so it is absolutely vital to get tested.
“The only way you can know is literally to test,” she told General Lee and Tammy. “We got amazing organisations out there like ‘Know Your Stuff’, the New Zealand Drug Foundation. [Testing] was permanently legalised in 2021 which is awesome and so good going into the festie season.”
“‘Know Your Stuff’ are amazing. You just take it along to them, they use Fentanyl testing strips. They’ve also get these big, clunky devices called spectrometers.”
“If it’s bad, they’ll tell you, they give it back and you decide what you wanna do with it. Most people just chuck it out… They’re super discreet as well.”
Earlier this year, during Matariki weekend, 13 people overdosed from cocaine laced with fentanyl and are “lucky to be alive” according to Wilhelmina.
“I chatted to some of the paramedics who attended the collapse… They said they turned up and there was literally one person unconscious on the ground. There were people on the ground and there were people standing in front of them talking.”
“And one by one, they just dropped down like dominoes. That’s scary.”
Obviously, Fentanyl is dangerous when not used by medical professionals. When you overdose on it, it slows your breathing, heart rate, and you become drowsy before eventually passing out and going into cardiac arrest. It’s crook.
Wilhelmina just released a documentary covering Fentanyl in NZ called ‘High and Die: The Fentanyl Problem. It’s available to watch on Today FM’s website.