Why ‘coma in a bottle’ is the new ice

THE deadly drug fantasy is on the same trajectory as ice use, a Gold Coast lawyer says, as new figures show two people are being busted with "coma in a bottle" every day.

Fantasy, known as GHB, was seized by Gold Coast police on 917 occasions last year, almost nine times more than it was in 2015.

Police and lawyers have expressed concern about the "dreadful" drug, dubbed coma in a bottle, which has been linked to several fatal overdoses on the Gold Coast.

Michael Gatenby, of Gatenby Criminal Lawyers, said: "Fantasy is the new ice. It's on the same trajectory as ice use."

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The "grossly addictive" drug was falsely perceived as safe and had become a popular drug among revellers, he said.

"It's relatively inexpensive, it goes through your system quickly and I think a lot of young people are using it thinking it's a party drug.

"I've had a couple of (clients) where we've got the footage and showed them and they've been massively surprised by how bad they are, their behaviour."

 

 

Gold Coast lawyer Michael Gatenby. Picture Mike Batterham
Gold Coast lawyer Michael Gatenby. Picture Mike Batterham

Mr Gatenby said GHB could cost $10-15 for two millilitres of the drug, whereas ice is $50-100 for "1 point".

Fantasy-related offences had gone from being a rare drug offence in Southport Magistrates Court to one of the most common, Mr Gatenby said.

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New police figures reveal people are being busted with the drug more than they were five years ago.

In 2015, the drug was seized on 174 occasions, compared to 917 last year.

GHB was only found 68 times when people were busted for drug possession in 2015, compared to 380 times last year.

 

 

Police seize drugs, they suspect is the dangerous drug Fantasy.
Police seize drugs, they suspect is the dangerous drug Fantasy.

According to Queensland Health, the drug, which has been linked to sexual assaults and date rapes, can be easy to overdose especially when taken with alcohol.

Overdose can lead to a coma, or death.

Detective Inspector Chris Ahearn said police had become more vigilant when searching for the drug, which was "hard to detect" because of its form.

"Our people are aware of what to look for so when we are conducting our tactical activities we're not just looking for equipment, or cannabis and that type of thing, we're also looking at liquids in detail," he said.

Insp Ahearn said the drug became prevalent in 2018 following a series of overdoses.

"We were seeing the dramatic effects that the drug can have and what the potential outcomes (could be). So that was certainly a point where we noticed its presence and increase."

Originally published as Why 'coma in a bottle' is the new ice

Detective Inspector Chris Ahearn. ay. Picture: Luke Mortimer
Detective Inspector Chris Ahearn. ay. Picture: Luke Mortimer

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