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Dark web drug overdoses are still happening day in and day out. We are not even halfway through the first quarter of the year and the number of dark web related drug overdoses have started adding up.
The latest addition and a much downhearted is the news of a mass drug overdose in a college in Australia which has left five teenage students in a coma.
The students, of which some are aged 14 and 15 years old, of St Stephen’s college, a private school in Queensland, filmed themselves taking the illegal pill which was based in Australia earlier this month.
The video which was posted to their friends on Snapchat displayed the label on the container which contained the illegal pills and the dosage they were taking. As to whether the students purchased the drugs themselves from the dark web is still unknown which has led to an investigation into the matter by the police.
“We are making some inquiries as to whether or not they have actually purchased it on the internet themselves,” Police inspector Tony Wormald stated. “It is a very sobering update really. It’s very serious,” he added.
Jamie Dorrington, headmaster of the school after the unfortunate incident warned parents to prohibit their children from sharing the video in an email sent to them while the police also seized many mobile devices from other students. He explained in the email that the request was not from his office but from the Queensland Police service.
In a released statement, Mr. Dorrington stated that it was likely the students had ingested some kind of substance and reassured parents that despite his concerns, the sickness was not something related to a contagious disease.
Paramedics were called to the school after the boys suffered an “altered level of consciousness”. They were later taken to the hospital of which two were discharged but unfortunately for five others, their situation was at a critical level.
Although the toxicology reports haven’t provided any feedback, Detective Senior Sergeant Greg Aubort has stated that the police believe the drugs which the students took is Phenibut and have started investigations.
He also claimed the students had ingested different amounts of the illegal drug at different times of the day.
Phenibut is an anti-anxiety and insomnia drug which was given to Soviet cosmonauts in the 1960s. The drug has similar effects to GHB, a party drug, and can be used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder, alcohol withdrawal syndrome, and vestibular disorders.
Earlier this month, it was declared an illegal substance by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) after stating it “represents a significant risk of harm, including overdose”. According to them, its usage across the country was rising but the drug carried a “high risk of dependency, abuse, and misuse”.
It is sold as a dietary supplement, made to bring a “feeling of calmness” in other parts of the world such as the US. According to researchers, it can be found in crystal form online for just $6 and $10 and in a recent study. It was revealed that about 48 independent suppliers on the internet sold the drug from the United States, Canada, China, Australia and the United Kingdom.
It is commonly known as “Bifren” on the dark web and is normally sold in daily doses ranging from 500 to 2,000 mg.
Claudia Stoessel, a parent narrating the ordeal to reporters stated that all she saw was the police and ambulance and didn’t even get a word from anyone about what was going on.
“It gave me a heart attack because my son is 14 and people were saying it was a 14-year-old, it was so scary,” she said.
In wake of this sad incident, many individuals have voiced their concern about the availability of the drug and how it is not as rare as many people think. An emergency consultant and senior clinical lecturer in medicine at the Australian National University, Dr. David Caldicott, stated that the drug in question is easily accessible online and one wouldn’t go through any difficulties in trying to get it. All that is required is access to the internet and an online payment method.