Sixteen people were hospitalised on the Gold Coast last weekend after taking drugs in what is called a terrible case of mass overdose. Police believe the unknown drug is a variant of MDMA called “flakka”, but there is no hard evidence yet that all of them took the same drugs.
Seven ambulances were called to Surfers Paradise clubs last weekend to respond to the emergency cases. As of Sunday, two people have been put into induced comas and the other 14 were sent to hospitals to be treated. Responders reported that they found the patients conscious but hallucinating and acting bizarrely. Queensland Ambulance Service inspector Stephen Burns worried that they might become aggressive and pose harm to themselves and others.
Toxicology reports have yet to come in but the mass overdose awoke concern among the police regarding new psychoactive drugs entering Australia. One of the suspected substances is “flakka” or the “zombie drug” that’s become a big problem in the US. In light of upcoming major events like the V8 Carnival and the Schoolies, Australian authorities are worried about the presence of these dangerous unknown substances in these events.
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Scary new psychoactive drugs in Australia
New psychoactive drugs are definitely already in Australia and authorities may be ill-equipped to identify them in time. Toxicologists estimate that a new psychoactive substance is being invented every week and by the time they have detected one, a dozen may have already cropped up.
These substances are mostly manufactured in China and India, and turn up in Europe first before hitting Australia. They emerge quickly and are hard to track because of their availability to be bought online. People who buy them can now go directly to the manufacturer. There have been reports of workers in Europe and the US who were high on these drugs harming themselves, like repeatedly running into buildings headfirst until they die of trauma.
Because of the problems these new substances pose, some Australian oil and gas companies are already asking to have their workers tested for flakka and other drugs. It’s a smart move for companies because of the mobile nature of workers nowadays and the ease by which they can come by these substances. More drug testing should also be done in major events like festivals to detect these substances and prevent another mass overdose.