Killer pills hit Cairns
KILLER pills are being sold as ecstasy to party drug users in Cairns, police warn.
Forensic tests have confirmed capsules seized in recent weeks contain two drugs – ethylcathinone and 4-methylmethcathinone – that can shut down vital organs.
Far Northern Drug Squad Det Sen-Sgt Mick Dowie said the pills were being sold or passed around as ecstasy and could be fatal to the user.
"It’s definitely not ecstasy – which is a dangerous drug in itself," he said.
"These drugs are life-threatening and we’d like the assistance of the public to find the source of them and to get them off the street."
Detectives discovered the lethal drug was in Cairns about six weeks ago when they seized two pills from a man who believed they were ecstasy.
Three weeks ago, they seized 150 pills.
Sen-Sgt Dowie said the producers were buying empty capsules and filling them with the drugs in brown powder form.
Ethylcathinone and 4-Methylmethcathinone, also known as 4-MTA, could cause hypothermia and organ failure, he said.
Sen-Sgt Dowie said 4-MTA was similar to a drug known as PMA but it was much more dangerous.
Such pills were produced by people with little knowledge or regard for the health effects, he said.
"Most of them are drug-addicts themselves and they don’t really care about the end-users," Sen-Sgt Dowie said.
"This is a perfect scenario where someone could easily die out of someone else trying to make a quick dollar."
Police believe several people had already taken the drug and they were trying to determine whether any had fallen seriously ill.
"We understand from information from the public that these pills may be reasonably widespread in the community and have only recently been introduced into the community," Sen-Sgt Dowie said.
"If you do have them, don’t take them, whatever you do."
Sen-Sgt Dowie urged users who had the pills to contact police to help them find the source.
"Obviously we wouldn’t be looking to charge minor users under those circumstances," he said.
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