A leaked police memo has revealed what was in Melbourne’s recent “bad batch” of MDMA, which led to the deaths of three people and around 20 overdoses in January.
A police safety memo circulated internally by Victoria Police’s Drug Taskforce and marked “not for public release” has been obtained by Vice, and it shows that while the “bad batch” of MDMA was being sold as MDMA, it contained “a cocktail of illicit substances, including 4-Fluoroamphetamine [an amphetamine-type stimulant, also known as 4-FA] and 25C-NBOMe [a strong hallucinogen]”.
The memo also states that if the MDMA had been tested using conventional testing kits, the kits might not have been able to detect the existence of these two dangerous substances.
Harm reduction advocate and the Director of Unharm, Will Tregoning, has told Vice that Victoria Police should have released their information to the public.
“There’s always that two week period of reporting when everyone is speculating about what the substance could be,” he says. “[Victoria Police] have got top of the line [equipment], they could’ve done this analysis in 40 minutes… They could’ve released these reports in 24–48 hours.”
In response, Victoria Police say, “This internal memo was sent to police members on 27 January following several instances of highly concerning drug reactions, including a number of overdoses in Chapel Street last month.
“As the internal memo indicates, synthetic drugs can take a variety of forms. If we issue a warning for one particular lot, that does not mean the drug isn’t also doing the rounds in other forms and so it is inappropriate to provide a specific warning.”
Late last year, Mr Tregoning told Music Feeds that potential pill testing trials at music events still “needs buy-in from police”, and also “needs patrons to be part of the solution”.
Harm reduction advocates have also been in negotiations with local festival promoters to bring pill testing facilities to their events, while the council behind Melbourne’s St Kilda Festival recently voted in favour of pill testing.