Pills on the party scene
DESPITE the discovery of three meth labs in the Gympie region this year, Detective Senior Sergeant Gregg Davey said a startling new trend was the misuse of over-the-counter pills.
Over the past few years the Gympie police have seen a ferocious increase in prescription drug abuse and, even more worrying, prescription drugs have made it on to the party scene as a legal, seemingly safe way to recreate an illicit high.
According to Det Snr Sgt Davey, the latest drug craze to sweep through the region is for legal pills washed down by spirits.
“People can access them legally, through medical conditions, from their doctors,” he said.
“This is an emerging trend coming to the attention of law enforcement agencies across the world. Certainly the deaths of Heath Ledger and Michael Jackson have highlighted the dangers involved in abusing prescription drugs.”
Ledger, 28, died from ‘acute intoxication’ caused by an accidental overdose of anti-anxiety medication and prescription painkillers.
The Los Angeles County coroner’s office determined Jackson, 50, died from “acute propofol intoxication” with a sedative contributing to his death. Additional drugs detected in Jackson’s system were the sedatives midazolam and diazepam, the painkiller lidocaine and the stimulant ephedrine.
The most commonly abused prescription medications fall into three categories: opiate-based painkillers (OxyContin and Diazapan); central nervous system depressants prescribed for anxiety and sleep disorders (Valium and Xanax); and stimulants, used to treat attention deficit disorders (Ritalin and Adderall).
Det Snr Sgt Davey said there were a number of ways users could take prescription drugs, either in tablet form, or crushed into a powder and swallowed, snorted or injected.
He said illegal use of prescription drugs were far more difficult to police because there were people who legitimately needed to medicate for pain and illness.
Drug labs, on the other hand, were a lot easier to detect — the recent busts are the product of good policing resulting from information provided by the public.
“If residents see lights on all through the night, people coming and going and notice particularly strange smells they should contact police or Crime Stoppers.”