Tributes are flowing for Riki Stephens.  Photo: Dylan McCutcheon / Facebook
Tributes are flowing for Riki Stephens. Photo: Dylan McCutcheon / Facebook

Death of footballer sparks drug warning from police

FAMILY and friends have been 'absolutely gutted' by the loss of a footballer whose life support is being turned off nearly a week after multiple drug overdoses on the Gold Coast.

Riki Stephens was one of about 16 people who suffered drug overdoses in Surfers Paradise last weekend.

The family of the 27-year-old, who was on the Gold Coast celebrating the end of the season with Heathcote Saints Football Club, has made the heartbreaking decision to turn off his life support at the Gold Coast University Hospital on Friday.

Police at lunch time confirmed he had passed away in hospital.

Superintendent Michelle Stenner warned the community of the serious and potentially fatal effects of taking dangerous drugs.

"Illicit drugs are dangerous and can be deadly. You do not know what you are taking and how you will react."

"These drugs are manufactured substances made in backyard laboratories using concocted recipes. What you think you are buying may not be what you are administering," Superintendent Stenner said.

Two men have been charged with supplying dangerous drugs and investigations are continuing.

"Illicit drugs are a huge concern to police and we will continue to undertake proactive policing operations targeting illicit drug activities on the Gold Coast." Superintendent Stenner said.

Members of the public are asked to be aware of the issue and to remain cautious and to report any suspected drug activity to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

The news prompted Riki's friends and teammates to flood his Facebook page with tributes.

Diamond Creek Football Club posted: "Today we lost one of our own. It still doesn't seem real and it's hard to believe that we'll never see that cheeky smile again. Thoughts go out to the family and all of your mates, of which there are plenty. We'll miss you Rik, RIP mate."

"Rest easy Riki Stephens a great bloke who's life has been taken far to early. Thoughts go out to the Stephens family and friends," wrote Heath George.

Friend Luke Jackson said he was "a jet of a bloke who will be missed so dearly" while Billy Barden said it was "only a few weeks ago we were having a beer on your deck watching the footy mate!! RIP Riki Stephens!"

Another wrote: "Absolutely gutted! Cannot express enough sympathy to Stevo and Family. Riki you will always be a champion!"

Mr Stephens was staying at the Islander with his teammates celebrating the end of the season when it is understood he took the deadly substance along with two of his friends on Saturday night.

There were 16 reports of drug overdoses in Surfers Paradise, Labrador and Mermaid Waters last weekend.

Police said toxicology results indicated those tested ingested a cocktail of amphetamine-type substances (ATS) including methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), as well as a synthetic lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), also known as N bomb.

These tests found no trace of α-Pyrrolidinopentiophenone, known as "flakka".

At two people have been charged over the spate of drug overdoses.

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