Backpackers critically ill after Australia mass drug overdose

2018-01-04 10:38
(iStock)

(iStock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Sydney - Nine foreign backpackers, including five from France, were rushed to hospital in various states of "agitated delirium" after ingesting a travel sickness drug they mistook for cocaine and falling seriously ill, Australian authorities and reports said.

Three of them - two French and one German - remained in hospital on Thursday after paramedics were called to a house in the Perth suburb of Victoria Park on Tuesday night.

The seven men and two women aged between 21-25 took the drug Hyoscine and fell into an unconscious or semi-conscious state, Western Australia Police said.

Royal Perth Hospital emergency doctor David McCutcheon said late on Wednesday the trio were "still in a critical condition".

"Several of these people would have died I'm pretty sure without medical intervention," he told the West Australian newspaper, adding that the nine were brought to hospital "in a state of agitated delirium".

"They were hallucinating, their hearts were racing, several of them had to be put in a medically induced coma for their own protection and I really need to emphasise how seriously unwell they were."

WA Police said the prescription drug Hyoscine - also known as Scopolamine, which is used in low doses as a sedative and for the treatment of travel sickness - was the only identifiable drug detected in the samples taken from the patients.

The drug has gained notoriety internationally from its use as a truth serum.

'We were powerless'

One victim, an Italian who gave his name as Simone, told the West Australian the drug arrived at the house in a package addressed to a person who did not live there anymore.

When the residents opened the package, they found some white powder wrapped in a piece of paper with the word "scoop" written on it.

Thinking it was cocaine, they divided the powder up and snorted the substance, Simone said, telling the newspaper that he then became paralysed and could not scream for help.

"We were powerless, we couldn't do anything," he added.

A neighbour told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation the nine were suffering from seizures and had glassed eyes when they were taken from the house on stretchers.

"It was so scary to look at... A lot of them were shaking and trying to get out of the bed, but I don't think they knew they were doing it", Sophie Barnet said.

Read more on:    australia  |  narcotics

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.