Victorian coroner recommends drug checking

Today the Coroners Court of Victoria released its findings into a cluster of five drug-related deaths that occurred across Melbourne between July 2016 and January 2017.

The five young males, aged between 17 and 32, were all found to have consumed an unusual combination of two new psychoactive substances, 25C-NBOMe and 4-FA. Most of the deceased thought they were taking MDMA.

Coroner Paresa Spanos has recommended the Victorian government implement a drug checking service as a matter of urgency. This is a service where people could find out the content and purity of drugs alongside a meeting with a health-care worker to talk about their drug use and test results.

She also recommended Victoria implement a drug early warning network. Data from the drug checking service could be cross-checked with other information we have about what drugs are out there, triggering alerts to warn people if an unusually dangerous substance is circulating.

As an expert witness to the coronial inquest, I argued that more timely communication about the dangers of this drug combination to the public may prevent tragedies like these in the future.

Read the rest of my commentary at The Conversation.

I am available for media inquiries on 0407778938. Please leave a text message if I don’t answer immediately.

Some of the suspected NBOMe/4FA capsules photographed by an anonymous community member, January 2017
Images of the suspected NBOMe/4FA capsules provided to me by an anonymous community member, January 2017

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