SUNDAY 1:35PM | POLICE say they are waiting for the results of toxicology tests to identify the mystery drug behind a series of overdoses on the Gold Coast at the weekend.
In the last 36 hours, 16 people have been admitted to the Gold Coast University Hospital after they were found suffering from severe hallucinogenic episodes.
Speaking to reporters at a press conference on Sunday afternoon, Gold Coast Police Superintendant Michelle Stenner said the patients were aged from 18 through to 26.
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“These are young people taking substances that they don’t know what they are,” Superintendant Stenner said.
“These people that chose to take these substances, not knowing where they’re made from, not knowing who’s providing it to them, not knowing what the consequences are.
“It is really a stupid choice that these people are making.”
While there are reports that the drug ‘flakka’ could be to blame, Superintendant Stenner said investigators were still trying to determine exactly what the mystery substance was.
“We’re still running investigations as to what it actually was that these persons have taken,” she said.
“At this stage, we don’t have any toxicology reports back.
“Investigators were at the scenes yesterday and are trying to engage with the persons that were affected and also any witnesses.”
Flakka is a lethal cocktail of potent hallucinogens like LSD and stimulants like ‘ice’.
Superintendant Stenner said no drugs were located at either scene and no charges have been laid.
She said police were concerned about the “low-life drug dealers” who are benefiting from taking advantage of our youth.
“All they’re interested in is making a quick dollar, they are not concerned with the effects on the (users),” said said.
SUNDAY 11.30AM | PARAMEDICS have confirmed another eight young people were rushed to hospital on the Gold Coast last night after allegedly overdosing on a mystery ‘zombie drug’ rumoured to be ‘flakka’.
Queensland Ambulance Service spokesperson Stephen Burns confirmed a fleet of ambulances were dispatched to the Surfers Paradise nightclub precinct to transport seven people to hospital on Saturday night.
Another ambulance was sent to a home in Labrador.
“We ended up sending ambulances to eight people and transported them to Gold Coast University Hospital,” Mr Burns said.
“I am not sure what type of drugs they took but certainly the symptoms seemed to be similar in nature for all the eight patients.
“They (the patients) seemed to be hallucinating and seemed to be ‘not present’ and understanding what they were doing at the time.
“They were conscious and alert, but they were just doing abnormal things and were really a danger to themselves and others.”
The latest round of hospitalisations takes the total number of people admitted to the emergency department of the Gold Coast University Hospital suffering from hallucinogenic episodes to 16 in just under 48 hours.
Three people were found “severely hallucinating” at the Islander Resort Hotel in Surfers around 1am on Saturday.
One man stopped breathing and had to be resuscitated and intubated at the scene before he could be rushed to hospital where he was placed in an induced coma.
Around five hours later, another five people were found at a house in Mermaid Waters with near-identical symptoms to those at the Islander.
Mr Burns said some of the patients found in Surfers Paradise last night were aggressive, running through traffic and suffering from seizures.
“They become aggressive, non-compliant and they can be a danger to themselves and others,” Mr Burns said.
“One particular patient had absconded and it took some time to locate them which were able to do and then transport him to hospital.
“Thank goodness for that, we were able to locate the patient because again they were at risk until we were able to find them and take them to a place of safety at the hospital ED.”
Mr Burns said the call-outs were draining the resources of emergency services.
“It is a terrible drain on the resources for our ambulances and of course Queensland Health and our University Hospital ED in terms of having to manage these people taking drugs that were illicit and quite dangerous,” he said.
“We have other emergency cases that we need to respond to as well, including people with heart attacks, strokes, children that are ill, but our resources are taken up by people taking these dangerous drugs.”
“It is very concerning for the Queensland Ambulance Service and it should be the concern of the entire community.”
There are fears the deadly new designer drug “flakka” could be to blame for the mass overdoses, however, authorities have so far been unable to confirm these reports.
Authorities say they are highly concerned the dangerous new drug could be distributed to school leavers during annual schoolie celebrations on the Gold Coast next month.
Police are expected to address the media shortly.
SATURDAY 7:00PM | THERE are fears ‘flakka’ – a deadly drug dubbed the scariest in America – is being sold in Surfers Paradise following a series of drug overdoses on the Gold Coast.
Eight young people were rushed to hospital on Saturday morning after they were found suffering from severe hallucinogenic episodes.
Paramedics were first called to the Islander Resort Hotel in Surfers Paradise around 1am where they found three young men hallucinating after taking an “unknown substance”.
It’s understood CPR was performed on one man at the scene after he stopped breathing. He was intubated and has since been placed in an induced coma.
Emergency crews were then called to a house in Mermaid Waters around five hours later where they found another five people – four men and a woman – with near-identical symptoms to those found at the Islander.
A fleet of ambulances raced to the suburban address where they were greeted by a number of drug-affected patients panicking, running up the street and jumping into the canal.
Paramedics said the victims were “severely hallucinating”. QAS Supervisor Paul Young said the patients were seeing things that were simply not there, were highly “agitated” and “not making sense”.
Both groups had been partying in Surfers Paradise on Friday night.
They were all taken to Gold Coast University Hospital where they remain tonight; two in a serious condition and one in an induced coma.
Police are now investigating whether the overdoses are linked to the same mystery drug.
According to 9 News, the victims – aged in their late teens and early 20s – thought they were taking MDMA.
Although yet to be formally identified, police believe the mystery drug at the centre of the mass overdose could be ‘flakka’ – a cocktail of potent hallucinogens like LSD and stimulants like ‘ice’.
Also referred to as ‘gravel’ or ‘bath salt’ on the streets and known by chemists as alpha-PVP, the drug is known to send its users into a paranoid, zombified frenzy.
Watch these videos below of flakker users in the United States.
FIRST | ONE person has been placed in an induced coma and seven others are being treated in hospital after they allegedly overdosed on a mystery drug on the Gold Coast.
The Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) confirmed four men and one woman were found “severely hallucinating” on an “unknown substance” at a home on Orvieto Ave in Mermaid Waters around 7.30am this morning.
Another three men, reported to be footballers on an end-of-season trip from Victoria, were found in a similar condition at the Islander Hotel in Surfers Paradise shortly after midnight last night.
Of the eight people who were hospitalised, two are in a serious condition and one is in an induced coma.
One of the victims had to be sedated before they could be transported to hospital, paramedics said.
When emergency services arrived at the Mermaid Waters address, paramedics allegedly found one victim hallucinating in a canal.
The victims are believed to be aged in their late teens or early 20s and are all said to have been partying in Surfers Paradise on Friday night.
Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) supervisor Paul Young said both incidents were believed to be linked.
“There is no such thing as a Party Drug. Drugs used improperly can and will kill,” QAS said in a statement.
“Thankfully we made it to these people in time, thanks to the great work of our highly skilled Paramedics and Communications centre staff.”
The drug at the centre of the overdose is yet to be identified, although there are unconfirmed reports it could have been MDMA.
Police are investigating.
There was no further information available at the time of writing.
2 concerning jobs overnight & this morning multiple people ? overdose unknown substance#Gold Coast.Drugs are not for fun,can & will kill you pic.twitter.com/Ru1joIVvof
— Queensland Ambulance (@QldAmbulance) October 15, 2016
Jaydan Duck/Michelle Price