THERE are fears a cheap new synthetic hallucinogenic sold as LSD could be the latest threat to Hunter youth in the emerging chemical crisis.
The tablets, which mimic the effect of LSD and can be bought for $1.50 to $2 , have exploded onto the police radar in recent months, with the product most often purchased online and most likely originating in China.
The latest victim - Henry Kwan, 17 - plunged to his death in Killara, in Sydney’s upper north shore, on Wednesday night after ingesting a tab of a drug that was allegedly sold to him as LSD, but was actually a synthetic drug.
Paul Dillon, the director of Drug and Alcohol Research and Training Australia, told the Newcastle Herald an increased interest in hallucinogenic drugs among Australia’s youth may have played a role in the 17-year-old’s death.
‘‘It appears he thought he was taking LSD just like young man who died at Gosford before Christmas,’’ Mr Dillon said.
‘‘What I’m seeing across the country is a dramatic increase in the interest of hallucinogens, like LSD, trips and mushrooms.
‘‘I think that it’s an interesting trend that no-one is talking about, people are so interested in ecstacy, cocaine and so called ‘‘legal’’ highs that they’ve have ignored these.
‘‘If you look at the most recent school survey, eight per cent of all male 17-year-olds and one in 20 females have used a hallucinogen.
‘‘I think what we’re seeing is people purchasing what they believe is LSD but it’s not containing LSD it’s containing other dangerous substances.’’
The young man’s death also triggered a warning to parents to be ‘‘ever vigilant’’ about their children’s access to drugs at school and on the internet from the President of Newcastle and Lake Macquarie P&C.
Margaret Bryden urged parents to openly discuss the issue of drugs with their children.
‘‘We call on parents to be vigilant in where kids are and what access they have to drugs,’’ she said.
‘‘Parents also need to talk about these things with their kids, we haven’t got the magical answer, parent’s are learning all the time. Often it’s not what their children are experimenting with but what their children’s friend’s are experimenting with.
Newcastle City police commander Superintendent John Gralton, who labelled the use of legally bought synthetic drugs in the city an epidemic this week, said the issue remained a major concern.
‘‘The sooner we have legislation the better,’’ Superintendent Gralton said.
A 15-year-old youth from Gosford, died in December last year after he and a mate experimented with synthetic hallucinogenic substances 25B-NBOMe and 25I-NBOMe,
The drug caused respiratory problems and heart complications for the youth, who could not be revived after his 11-year-old brother found him unconscious in his bedroom.
It had a different effect on his friend, also 15, who, in a psychotic state, ran naked into traffic on a busy road and was hit by a car, leaving him with serious injuries.
‘‘I made some comments recently concerning the dangerous nature of these drugs and how people have the wrong impression that they may be in some way safe because they are sold ‘‘legally’’ at the moment,’’ Superintendent Gralton said.
‘‘Legislative change to criminalise them has not been enacted, but I believe it is imminent.
‘‘We are encountering people who are in violent and psychotic states all too often due to either smoking, ingesting or injecting this stuff.
‘‘It is a real problem and I’ll be happy to throw resources at it once legislation kicks in.’
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