Four people are in intensive care and five more are in hospital after a suspected mass drug overdose at a house occupied by backpackers in Perth.
The seven men and two women were rushed to the Royal Perth, Sir Charles Gairdner and Fiona Stanley hospitals about midnight on Tuesday after a triple-zero call was made to a house in Colombo Street, Victoria Park. The call was made at 11.40pm. Police believe all nine are visitors to Western Australia.
A spokeswoman for WA police said emergency services staff found “numerous people” in the house that were either unconscious or semi-unconscious.
Two men are in intensive care at Royal Perth hospital and two more people are in intensive care at Sir Charles Gairdner.
Police have not named the drug involved.
They said the occupants of the house were believed to be visitors to WA and the ABC has reported they are believed to be either backpackers or students.
Three people died in Melbourne in January last year after overdosing on what police said was a “bad batch” of MDMA that had allegedly been sold at a Chapel Street nightclub.
One month later 25 people were hospitalised after overdosing on synthetic drug GHB “and a cocktail of other drugs” at the Electric Parade music festival in Melbourne’s Myer Music Bowl.
The incidents prompted renewed calls for public pill testing services that would allow people to check the ingredients and concentration of illicit drugs before use.
Australian governments have long-rejected the idea, saying that it would send a message that some illicit drug taking was acceptable and safe.
In October the Victorian government approved a two-year trial of a safe injecting room in Richmond following a reported increase in heroin-related deaths.
It will be only the second safe injecting room in Australia, following the Sydney medically supervised injecting centre in Kings Cross, which has operated since 2001 and seen a significant reduction in ambulance call-outs linked to heroin overdose in the suburb.
The WA Greens have called for the introduction of safe injecting rooms and pill testing in that state.
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