Mystery drug killing youth

2016-04-06 13:00
The first look at the new drug which goes by many street names, including ‘Mercedes’, ‘Lacoste’ and ‘Mitsubishi’. For some reason, a metal wire is lodged in the core of the pill.

The first look at the new drug which goes by many street names, including ‘Mercedes’, ‘Lacoste’ and ‘Mitsubishi’. For some reason, a metal wire is lodged in the core of the pill. (Supplied)

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Pietermaritzburg - Authorities are waging a desperately urgent war on a new mystery drug that is steadily racking up a death count in KwaZulu-Natal.

The drug has already killed almost a dozen ­people, among them school children, and left scores of others in hospital.

The Ecstasy-based pill, which is white in colour and has a piece of metal wire lodged at its core, goes by many names on the streets, including ­‘Mercedes’, ‘Mitsubishi’ and ‘Lacoste’.

Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese said the police know of at least four people who have died after taking the drug in Pietermaritzburg, as well as one person in Isipingo and four more in KwaMashu.

Ngobese, who is part of a task force formed to deal with the scourge of the pill, said 26 people were admitted to Edendale Hospital after consuming the pill over a weekend three weeks ago, when the drug first started spreading across the province.

He said the drug is a stronger version of Ecstasy and endows the user with a feeling of limitless ­energy, but in the “rush”, the user’s body and organs become exhausted and eventually shut down.

“A lot of youngsters are being admitted to public and private hospitals, showing that the drug is widespread across all demographics. I interviewed doctors who said that the weekends — when the drug is often consumed — are especially bad,” ­Ngobese said.

He said there are dozens of users being admitted every week and this was impacting on doctors’ ­ability to help other patients.

Ngobese said the police had acted immediately by establishing a task team comprising various experts in their fields to deal with the new scourge on a social, cultural, criminal and spiritual level.

Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo on Monday also appealed to parents to closely monitor the children for extra energy, perspiration, dilated ­pupils and manic cheerfulness or depression.

He added that the warning followed statistics that show that 23 pupils were admitted at various Pietermaritzburg hospitals for drug overdoses over the Easter holidays.

“We are shocked and dismayed at the speed with which this killer drug is mushrooming. Just last weekend, families in the north of Durban were mourning and burying their two children, and now we learn of this,” Dhlomo said.

“As we speak, there is a 20-year-old [woman] in a very bad condition admitted at Northdale ­Hospital, who mentioned using this drug.”

Dhlomo said that the department was afraid that the use of the drug may “extensively expand” as schools had now re-opened, and reach other areas.

The Witness recently reported that the mystery drug left two men dead and 32 recovering in ­hospital after a school break-up party in KwaMashu at the end of March.

• amil.umraw@witness.co.za

Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo said symptoms of use of the drug are:

Auditory hallucination, visual hallucination, delusion, dehydration, aggressiveness,
depression, vomiting and severe
abdominal pain.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  death  |  drugs

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