Police are investigating a suspected mass overdose at a private school on the Gold Coast, after seven students were taken to hospital on Wednesday. According to ABC News, the boys' teacher "noticed the boys were unaware of their surroundings and nauseous." All seven of the students—aged 14 and 15 years old—were taken to hospital. Four were in a "critical condition."
A crime scene was established at St Stephen's College in Coomera, about an hour south of Brisbane, and students' mobile phones were seized. Police are allegedly investigating whether the substance that made the students sick was bought online. What exactly that substance was should be established later today when the toxicology reports are returned.
The school's principal, Jamie Dorrington, has told parents "much of what the current media is saying is an exaggeration" in a post on the school's Facebook page. However, he did note "it is likely the students have ingested some kind of substance."
"While this is obviously of concern to me, it does allow me to reassure you that their illness was not due to anything contagious," Dorrington added. "I have been advised by Queensland Ambulance that if students were to exhibit any symptoms it would have occurred by now."
Queensland Police Inspector Tony Wormald also told media it was likely the students took sort sort of drug, which made them sick.
"There's a number of different types of drugs that it could be," he said. "Once we find out the toxicology coming back from the hospital we'll be able to make a better determination… Whatever it is, it's a dangerous drug. We are making some inquiries as to whether or not they've actually purchased it off the internet themselves."
According to Dr James Martin from Macquarie University, Australians are using the dark net to buy drugs in higher numbers every year. "We have the second highest concentration of online drug dealers in the world [per capita.] We're just behind the Netherlands," he told VICE. "And that isn't taking into account local customers who are buying from overseas… we're leading the world as the dark net."
A lot of factors are driving this, Dr Martin says, including how relatively expensive drugs are in Australia. But the perceived higher quality of drugs on the dark net is also a factor, because buyers are able to give sellers a rating—just like a passenger can give their Uber driver five stars.
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