A RUSSIAN drug that caused a group of students to pass out at a prestigious private school on the Gold Coast has been outlawed by the state government.
Phenibut is among 104 new substances now illegal in Queensland after the government moved quickly to add it to its list of dangerous drugs.
It comes after seven Year 10 boys from St Stephen’s College at Upper Coomera were hospitalised in February after overdosing on the chemical at school.
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It’s understood the students, aged 14 and 15, had ordered the drug online and ingested it in various doses over the course of several hours.
Four of them were admitted to hospital in critical conditions and spent several days fighting for their lives in the intensive care unit.
Forty-nine synthetic cannabis strains were also added to the banned list, including ‘Full Moon’ and ‘Buddah’.
Attorney-General and Minster for Justice Yvette D’Ath said the new listings would make Queensland safer by ensuring authorities could stay ahead of dealers.
“The recent awful incident on the Coast serves as a reminder that new and dangerous substances are finding their way onto our streets,” she said.
“It is therefore essential we move quickly to ensure this chemical is illegal.”
“Drug dealers will try anything in desperate bids to push drugs onto streets, often introducing new substances and variations of old ones in a cynical attempt to circumvent the law.
“Specifically scheduling these chemicals puts their legal status beyond doubt, making it easier for law enforcement to prosecute dangerous drug offences,” she said.
Ms D’Ath said synthetic cannabis had a dangerous and unpredictable effect on the brain.
“Full Moon, for example, was involved in the deaths of two people in Mackay in 2015,” she said,.
“Unfortunately in recent years we have seen a surge in designer drugs and chemicals claiming to be natural and safe alternatives to cannabis.
“These chemicals are not safe, certainly not natural and have absolutely no therapeutic value.
“Don’t be fooled, don’t risk it.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with drugs or addiction, call Alcohol and Drug Information Service (ADIS) on 1800 177 833.