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What is alpha-PVP?   

Alpha-PVP – sometimes called ‘flakka’, is a stimulant drug and a synthetic cathinone. Alpha-PVP is active in low doses and has been linked to drug-induced psychosis, overdoses, and deaths overseas.  

Alpha PVP often comes in crystal form but has also been seen overseas in pressed pills and powders sold as MDMA.  

Do we have alpha-PVP in New Zealand? 

In the past, Alpha-PVP has been detected in New Zealand, in small amounts. In April 2023, High Alert released a notification about Alpha-PVP sold as MDMA detected at drug checking. The drug was detected again in October 2023 by the New Zealand Drug Foundation in a sample sold as MDMA.  

How does alpha-PVP make you feel? 

Alpha-PVP can have dangerous, unpredictable, and unpleasant effects, even at low doses. Some common effects include: 

  • Euphoria  

  • Feeling energetic

  • Anxiety or paranoia

  • Having a very fast or irregular heart rate  

  • Dehydration  

  • Agitation 

  • Feeling shaky or jittery

  • Acting out of character (including bizarre or violent behaviour)  

  • Feeling very sweaty 

  • Feeling nauseous or vomiting  

What happens if you take too much alpha-PVP? 

Alpha-PVP can cause overdoses in relatively small amounts. The effects of alpha-PVP and can become more unpleasant and unpredictable when mixed with alcohol, other drugs or medicines.  

Signs of an overdose from alpha-PVP can include:  

  • Having a fever or being very hot and sweaty 

  • Vomiting  

  • Dehydration 

  • Becoming very agitated  

  • Feeling confused or disoriented  

  • Slurred speech or speaking but not making sense 

  • Dangerous, violent, or erratic behaviour  

  • Experiencing chest pains 

  • Having a rapid or irregular heartbeat 

  • Seizures  

  • Signs of a heart attack or stroke

  • Loss of consciousness  

  • Psychosis   

If you or someone around you is experiencing these symptoms, call 111 immediately.   

What is a common dose of alpha-PVP? 

Tripsit has crowdsourced information on common alpha-PVP doses when swallowed. However, it's important to remember that you may need to take a lower dose if you take alpha-PVP a different way (e.g. snorting).  

Tripsit states that a common dose of alpha-PVP is around 10-25mg. This is much lower than common doses of MDMA, and other synthetic cathinones, like eutylone.  

Remember that doses can feel different for everyone, depending on your size, your physical health, your individual body and whether you have taken any other drugs or medicines.

How can you be safer if you're taking alpha-PVP?  

If you do use Alpha-PVP, there are things you can do to stay safer.  

Here's how to be safer if you're taking alpha-PVP:

  1. Get your drugs checked to find out what they actually are. Drug checking is free, legal, and confidential in Aotearoa. Find a drug checking clinic near you on our calendar.

  2. Start slow & use less. Alpha-PVP can have strong and unpleasant effects and it is best to start with a low dose and see how you feel before using more. Common doses of Alpha-PVP are much lower than those for MDMA.  

  3. Avoid redosing. We recommend that you don’t take more Alpha-PVP after your first dose. You may feel a strong urge to keep having more and more- this is called compulsive redosing and is common with synthetic cathinones. Taking more will also increase your risk of overdosing. Consider only bringing with you what you plan on using so you are not tempted to take more.  

  4. Use with a sober buddy. Alpha-PVP can cause overdoses quickly and can sometimes make people mentally distressed. It is important to use with a sober buddy who can help keep you calm and can get you help if things start to go wrong.  

How can you find out if you have alpha-PVP? 

You can check if you have alpha-PVP by visiting a drug checking clinic. Drug checking is a free, legal and confidential way to find out what’s in your drugs.  

Alpha-PVP can also be checked using reagent tests at home, though this won’t work if Alpha-PVP is mixed with another substance like MDMA.

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