CityHub: Three overdose on tablets sold as MDMA but were actually potent opioid

Recently three people in Sydney were hospitalised after taking pills that they believed to be MDMA but actually contained a powerful opioid, nitazene. Individuals taking as little as half a tablet were hospitalised. 

In response to these hospitalizations, NSW Health issued an urgent warning about the tablets, describing them as orange or red, rectangular in shape, featuring a red bull logo and text.

This incident has reignited calls for drug testing.

While the ACT implemented a fixed pill-testing site in July 2022 as part of a trial until the end of 2024, NSW has not implemented such measures, despite mounting pressure during the 2024 summer festival season.

Three weeks before these deaths, 8 others overdosed on MDMA at a music festival in Melbourne. At the time, Lydia Shelly, President of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties (NSWCCL), said, “Pill testing is a crucial harm reduction measure that can save lives and prevent tragic incidents like those witnessed in Melbourne.”

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