Nova Scotia

Powerful hallucinogenic drug DMT seized by police in New Glasgow

A Pictou County police unit that investigates street crime seized a drug called DMT, or N-Dimethyltryptamine, during a bust Thursday night.

Pictou County police street crime unit arrest 2 people and charge them with drug possession

Const. Ken MacDonald is with New Glasgow Regional Police. (Elizabeth Chiu/CBC)

A Pictou County police unit that investigates street crime seized a powerful hallucinogenic drug during the search Thursday night of a New Glasgow home.

Police officers with a dog found some pot and a quantity of drug called N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), said New Glasgow Regional Police Const. Ken MacDonald said.

"That drug, N-Dimethyltryptamine, is an imported drug," he said. "There's no evidence we've seen that it's manufactured in Nova Scotia area simply because we haven't seized any synthetic labs that produce DMT."

Police arrested two people, a 19-year-old woman and a 20-year-old man, and charged them with drug possession. The two have been released from custody and are to appear in provincial court at a later date.

Drug surfaced in New Glasgow in 2015

It's not the first time the drug, sold as a whitish beige powder, has surfaced in New Glasgow.

In Oct. 26, 2015, a worker in a downtown New Glasgow business mistaken received an envelope with an unknown powder in it. She called police.

"As a result, we had to close down the downtown of New Glasgow," MacDonald said. "We sent it to the lab — it was Dimethyltryptamine.

The drug doesn't offer a casual high, but rather a short and extreme hallucinatory experience, according to a 2013 Global Drug Survey conducted by a U.K. research company called GDS.

It comes as a whitish powder that is supposed to be derived from plants found in Central and South American and parts of Asia. It can be smoked or taken orally.

Mental side-effects

Possible side-effects can include increased heart rate and blood pressure, chest pain or tightness, agitation, dilated pupils and dizziness. It can also cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Medical warnings say mental side-effects can linger and people with pre-existing psychological problems or a mental illness such as schizophrenia could be seriously harmed.

That's assuming the drug contains only N-Dimethyltryptamine compounds. Most street drugs manufactured in illegal labs are synthetic mixtures, MacDonald said.

Pills and powders sold on the street can have a wide variety of concentration levels; one may make you high, the next may kill you, he said.

"That's where we are seeing a high increase in serious injuries and/or death associated with drugs," MacDonald said. "They're buying a drug on the street. They don't know what the concentration is. There's no guide, there's no book, there's no manual, or testing solutions for these types of drugs."