PETALING JAYA: The “killer drug” that caused six deaths at last week’s Future Music Festival Asia (FMFA) apparently needed just 10 minutes to wipe out someone’s vital systems.
Besides the six dead, 14 other concert goers were hospitalised after consuming what the police called “Tab”.
Unfortunately, Tab may be just one of many new deadly “imported” designer drugs that have infiltrated the local scene.
According to the National Anti-drugs Agency (AADK), there are many new drugs “breaking” into the global market and Malaysia is not spared.
“In today’s borderless world where people and goods can travel easily, a new drug from another country would not take long to reach our shores,” said an AADK source.
One new drug AADK has on its watch list is the psychedelic drug 25i-NBOME, better known as “25i” or “wizard”, which is similar to what the FMFA victims were suspected of consuming.
The drug, believed to be manufactured in China and Russia, is taken in “blotter tabs” or 3mm squares of white paper printed with different symbols.
It is highly toxic; just a small amount can cause seizures, neurological damage, organ damage, cardiac and respiratory arrest as well as death.
Deaths by the “wizard” had been reported in countries like the United Kingdom and United States.
The “25i” reportedly can also cause incredible bursts of physical strength, with some cases of men running naked in the streets, biting people’s faces and instigating fights.
Earlier this month, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) issued a warning about the growing trend of new synthetic drugs.
According to its latest annual report, new psychoactive substances emerged almost on a daily basis, with its abuse growing in developing countries.
“In recent years, there has been an unprecedented surge in the abuse of new psychoactive substances, often called ‘legal highs’ or ‘designer drugs’,” INCB stated.
Their rapid evolution rate has made it difficult for the laws and international control regimes to keep pace. Worse, they are readily available on the Internet.
“States and international institutions need to find new ways to identify the drugs and stop their distribution. More education is also needed to convey the risks, especially among youths,” the UN-affiliated INCB said.
According to Universiti Sains Malaysia criminologist Assoc Prof Dr P. Sundramoorthy, users were playing Russian roulette when they took such drugs.
“They do not know the content of the drugs, how they are made or the conditions in which the drugs are made,” he said.
“Many of the labs are illegal labs in empty warehouses, someone’s garage or the like. So it is a risk every time you pop a pill, inhale or swallow a drug.
“If you don’t die, you can suffer permanent damage to your nervous system or organs,” he added.