Gold Coast students may have taken Phenibut
One of the seven Gold Coast students hospitalised after a suspected drug overdose is reportedly the son of a senior teacher at Saint Stephens College.
One of the other students who was taken to hospital on Wednesday is the son of a high profile Gold Coast businessman, the Courier Mail reports.
9NEWS understands police are now working with the Australian Border Force to investigate how the students managed to get their hands on the drug believed to be Phenibut.
Police understand the students first took the mystery drug on school grounds just before the bell rang.
Some are believed to have continued to take hits of the drug through the day, with police treating several sections of the school as crime scenes.
Two students have now been discharged, and five remain in Gold Coast Hospital after falling ill after lunch on Wednesday.
The students all took different quantities of the drugs over a number of hours but symptoms did not present until about midday.
Paramedics were called to the school just before 1pm AEST as the seven Year 10 students, aged 14 and 15, struggled to stay conscious.
Detective Senior Sergeant Brad Aubort said police had found evidence of a “powdered drug” at the school.
“We have some evidence that a quantity was introduced to this group,” he said.
“We will follow through in terms of how much was ingested and obviously the barrier is some of the kids can’t speak right now.”
He confirmed one student who had been discharged had been interviewed by police.
The Gold Coast Bulletin reported the students were believed to have taken Phenibut and that “someone has brought it into the school”.
Det Sen Sgt Aubort said there was “no confirmation” the drug involved was Phenibut, but that police were aware of reports to that effect and were investigating.
Phenibut is a central nervous system depressant, first used in Russia in the 1960s and only approved for medical use in Russia, Ukraine and Latvia.
It works as a relaxant and anti-anxiety agent and is sold online as a nutritional supplement.
Australia banned Phenibut in February, making it a prohibited substance due to concerns about withdrawal and overdose.
An overdose can cause severe drowsiness, nausea and vomiting, among other symptoms.
The boys reportedly filmed themselves with the drug and circulated the videos on social media.
“If there is footage out there we want to get our hands on it and that is going to take our investigation forward for sure,” Det Snr Sgt Aubort said.
“Police, the community, the schools, we all have a responsibility to understand what’s going out there in this generation and we’re always worried about copy cats; people who see this and think that’s a great idea.
“We do not want copy cat behaviour, we do not want people seeing videos like this and we do not want it escalating.”
Police are working with other agencies such as the Australian Border Force to substantiate how the boys obtained the drugs. It’s possible they were purchased online.
“This is a difficult space we live in in terms of parents and children, who are growing and developing as individuals, and independence and boundaries, they’re looking to experiment and try different things. It’s a balancing act as a parent, but the reality is we look to minimise the access that comes with the World Wide Web and social media and what our kids are able to do once they’re online.”
Det Sen Sgt Aubort says police need to ensure they can account for all the drugs involved.
“We certainly do need to be sure that we can account for all of the drugs that were involved,” he said.
“So if there is any information out there from any person at all, be that a student or family, who has any information about the existence of more of this drug or its uses elsewhere, we’d appreciate that information to come to us.”
The school and parents are cooperating with police.
© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2018