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New internet drug kills 14 young Swedes

New internet drug kills 14 young Swedes

Published: 28 Jul 2012 09:10 GMT+02:00
Updated: 28 Jul 2012 09:10 GMT+02:00

A new drug sold online has caused the deaths of 14 young men in Sweden since the beginning of July, and the Swedish National Institute of Public Health (Folkhälsoinstitutet, FHI) is now attempting a speedy process to ban the drug.

All known victims of the substance 5-IT were men in their twenties, autopsied after the National Board of Forensic Medicine (Rättsmedicinalverket) suspected their deaths were caused by overdoses, wrote national newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

FHI warns of the dangers associated with online drugs.

“Often several different substances have been mixed into the powder or tablets that people buy, without their knowledge. And on chat forums different dosages are recommended. This makes the online drugs deadly,” said FHI’s investigator Anders Persson to the newspaper.

Despite the dangers, drugs sold over the Internet have exploded in popularity over the past couple of years, and authorities have difficulty keeping up with the constant stream of new ecstasy and amphetamine-type stimulant substances.

Production is mainly based in China, reports Dagens Nyheter, and the legal process to forbid each new substance as it appears takes several months.

According to last year’s investigative report from Swedish broadcaster TV4, based on statistics from the National Board of Forensic Medicine, 500 people in Sweden have been killed by Internet drugs in the past decade.

It’s unknown how many victims 5-IT may have claimed in total, or how many use the drug.

But according to the Swedish Poisons Information Centre (Giftinformationscentralen), eleven people have called them so far in 2012 complaining of unpleasant symptoms after taking the substance. Some common symptoms of drug overdose are high pulse, sweats, anxiety and confusion.

And the deaths of the 14 young men show the drug may be more widely spread than suspected.

“Previously we haven’t been able to make analyses because we lacked the resources to trace the substance. But now that there were so many, we could see that they had all used 5-IT,” said FHI’s Persson to Dagens Nyheter.

FHI is now demanding the ban of 5-IT, hoping that the process to make it illegal will be prioritized. A ban would mean that possession and purchase of the substance would be punishable by up to a year in prison.

TT/Clara Guibourg (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

13:36 July 28, 2012 by rise
It's called evolution. Now when they're dead they cannot spread the "be cool and take some drugs"-gene any further. Other humans lacking the "be cool and take some drugs"-gene are still alive and able to spread their genes, all according to the evolution.
13:43 July 28, 2012 by allisdream
Their blood covers the hands of those politics who legislate with their own interests in mind or with such a small mind that logic and common sense do not fit.

Sweet cannabis never killed anyone!

Why do we keep letting professional politics legislate? Doctors and drug specialists should be the ones deciding what drugs should be legal.

The whole world is turned upside down...better go roll a J.

LEGALIZE IT!!!
13:54 July 28, 2012 by Achilles7
Re. Message no.2

What a stupid comment to make. Did you not even read the article? 14 people have died and you want to legalise it?? I'm sick and tired of leftists advocating legalisation of drugs everytime there's an article about how these very same drugs have taken someone's life. Anyone caught with drugs, dealing or just using, should be punished most severely - teach these idiots to grow up and start getting a life.
14:01 July 28, 2012 by Mb 65
If they were increasing the Moms or Skatt it would come in immediately. I can never understand these idiots who try drugs and smoking when they know it could cost them their lives.
18:12 July 28, 2012 by Bisonex
"Sweet cannabis never killed anyone!"

Really?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2172013/Hannah-Bonser-trial-22-years-cannabis-addict-murdered-schoolgirl.html

Cannabis is a dangerous drug. Long may it remain illegal.
20:59 July 28, 2012 by Revoran
@Bisonex comment #5

Alcoholics and cigarette smokers murder people every year, but you don't say that alcohol and tobacco should become illegal do you? Face it - you are a hypocrite.

No one has ever died from the health effects of cannabis.

PS: The Daily Mail is a terrible tabloid and should not be taken seriously.

If drugs were legalized, controlled and regulated these kinds of incidents where 14 young people die would be much more rare because the quality would be controlled. Also much safer alternatives like MDMA would be available and people would not try to use 5-IT and other unknown drugs.
22:22 July 28, 2012 by Bisonex
@Revoran - "Alcoholics and cigarette smokers murder people every year, but you don't say that alcohol and tobacco should become illegal do you?"

I was responding to the claim that cannabis had never killed anyone.

If alcohol and cigarettes were not already embedded into the culture and sold lawfully to the public, do you really think that they would legalise them now? Of course they wouldn't.

"PS: The Daily Mail is a terrible tabloid and should not be taken seriously."

The same story was reported widely in the press and on UK radio and TV, so it is reasonable to suppose it is true.

If you think MDMA is safe, you are nuts:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2178869/Ecstasy-tablets-far-damaging-previously-thought--taking-just-cause-brain-damage.html

Nah, we should keep all currently illegal drugs illegal - but enforce the law more robustly. Anyone caught in possession of an illegal drug should get a massive fine, plus have their passport and driving licence taken from them.
00:56 July 29, 2012 by jan.petras
One word: Netherland
01:43 July 29, 2012 by sqwimpy
First of all Bisonex, corrilation does not show causation. So anything publication that doesn't show causation, is not a reliable publication.

Cannabis is widely known as a drug that is not harmful to human beings, to say otherwise is pure ignorance. You can rationalize anything as being good or bad and our rationalization is fixed on our belief system and not on facts.

Findings on other drugs, to my knowledge, has not weathered the same findings as cannabis.
09:37 July 29, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
A life saving alternative to scrambling around for months to ban a drug that they discover is rapidly killing people, is to automatically ban all new drugs until they pass safety tests or analysis of the contents to ensure that the substances and doses are not dangerous.

And because such a new law banning all untested drugs could kill certain 'far east medicines and herbal teas' type shops that will not have the time or resources to get all drugs approved, then the an added provision could be that these tea shops have to 'sponsor' any new drug that they start selling, meaning that they accept criminal liability if their new concoction kills people within the recommended dosage limits.
10:46 July 29, 2012 by Borilla
On one hand, this seems to bear out Darwin's theories. However, some of the commentators lead one to believe that the there are many more out there waiting to add to the proof. It would seem that Reason abd(sic) Realism has a good idea.
12:39 July 30, 2012 by Shibumi
Educate and legalize...everything.

Control the manufacture, dosage and packaging. Explain plainly what each drug does and its risks right there on the packaging... just like medicine. And then make it legal and as easy to obtain as medicine to anyone over 18.
14:37 July 31, 2012 by Revoran
@Reason and Realism

That won't save lives. Banning drugs does not reduce the usage of drugs :/

Plus you can't just ban everything - that hampers scientific research too much.

I agree there should be more regulation (like with 'herbal medicine' etc which needs to be more regulated) and safety laws, but not outright bans.

@Bisonex

I never said MDMA was "safe". No drug is 100% safe.

However this is from the article you linked when you claimed that MDMA caused horrible brain damage:

"Valerie Curran, professor of psychopharmacology at University College London, said that any effects on memory are likely to be small and transient.

She said: 'The general agreement that is emerging about ecstasy is that while you are using the drug, you might expect a very subtle memory impairment but it's probably not significant in the real world.

'When you stop using it, as most people do, things go back to the way they were.'"

Of course alcohol would be banned if it was discovered today - but that wouldn't stop people using it. Just like banning illegal drugs doesn't stop people using them.

And honestly its not about whether a drug is dangerous - it doesnt matter how dangerous the drug is when the law is still worse than the drug.
11:05 August 2, 2012 by Achilles7
@Shibumi,

The 'legalise everything' approach won't work. Look at cigarettes - on every pack there is a warning in big bold black capitals: SMOKING KILLS. And yet people continue to smoke and people continue to die of lung cancer and heart disease. What makes you think drugs will be any different?
16:33 August 2, 2012 by Nvd
Partying after 3 at night is banned.

Drugs (even those that are safe at low levels) are banned.

This is what happens when inexperienced people get an access to any form of drug. They consume it like a starved beast and die. There is some sort of attraction in "the forbidden apples".

Time is coming soon when everything will be banned.

Strange enough those who are against drugs do not consider alcohol as a drug just because their weekends depend on it.

Gives me an answer why people commit suicide due to lack of any recreation.

Denmark and Netherlands are saving lives of Sweden by venting out some of their frustration.

There is a DIFFERENCE between "use" and "abuse".
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