Fears new ‘zombie drug' behind mass drug overdose on Gold Coast

Krystal Johnson

There are fears a dangerous new "zombie drug" may be behind a mass overdose on the Gold Coast that left multiple people in hospital over the weekend.

Eight people were taken to hospital for treatment on Saturday morning, with unconfirmed reports paramedics treated another seven patients in Surfers Paradise and one in Labrador on Saturday night - all with the same symptoms.

Photo: AP

A Queensland Ambulance Service spokesman said the patients were hallucinating, and authorities were "very concerned" about the unknown product.

At least one of the patients had to be sedated before being taken to hospital.

Seven men and one woman were taken to hospital after taking illicit drugs at separate parties. Photo: Queensland Ambulance

Seven men and one woman - all believed to be aged in their late teens to early 20s - were taken to Gold Coast Hospital on Saturday morning after taking illicit drugs at separate parties.

Yahoo7 contacted Queensland Police and were told the substance has been sent off for testing. A spokesperson refused to confirm local media claims that 'flakka' was the drug the victims took.

The spokesperson said it will take weeks for the results to determine what caused the victims to hallucinate so severely.

Emergency services treated three men, believed to be Victorian footballers, who were “severely hallucinating” during an end-of-season trip at the Islander Hotel in Surfers Paradise around 1am.

“They were very agitated and were doing weird things [like] jumping on furniture," Queensland Ambulance supervisor Paul Young said.

Mr Young said the men were babbling incoherently and one man was incubated after he stopped breathing.

A few hours later, authorities arrived at a Mermaid Waters residence to find four men and a woman also hallucinating while swimming in a rear canal and jumping around the street at 7.30am.

Two of the eight drug victims are in a serious condition and one is in an induced coma at Gold Coast University Hospital.

Mr Young said the consequences could have been deadly and believes the two incidents are linked due to the similar symptoms of the patients.

“Any illegal drugs or unknown substance that you take, the effect is totally unknown,” he said.

Flakka, also referred to as the “zombie drug" or “gravel”, is a synthetic hallucinogen scientifically known as Alpha PVP and has been dubbed the "the scariest in America".

The medical and scientific community in Australia are deeply concerned about the drug, which is being increasingly produced.

“I wouldn't recommend that anyone goes near it, unless they want to turn themselves into some sort of lab experiment,” addiction medicine specialist Dr Philip Crowley told 7 News.

Last year a woman on one of the drugs was taken to emergency after exhibiting bizarre behaviour at a city nightclub.

She had been compulsively licking the dance floor, shredding her tongue.