ADELAIDE nightclub crowds are being caught with illicit drugs after buying internet products marketed as "safe" and "legal"
Three drug experts and chemists, from Forensic Science SA, Flinders University and Royal Adelaide Hospital, have highlighted in the Forensic Science International how soft drugs laws in countries such as China, India and Israel are trapping young users here.
South Australia has an extensive list of drug "analogues". They are banned chemicals as they are nearly identical to such well-known drugs as ecstasy.
The lack of legislative control provides entrepreneurial individuals and companies with the opportunity to circumvent legislation and create active chemicals and market them as legal alternatives, the paper has found.
Experts completed a chemical breakdown of four pills found at Royal Adelaide Hospital.
It showed they were almost identical to illegal amphetamines, despite being "legally" obtained in their country of origin. The four pills were bought on the internet from Israel.
One was the potentially fatal MCAT, or meow meow, which since has been banned in many countries because of high-profile deaths in Britain.
At the time the products were received, MCAT had barely received mention on internet discussion boards or the scientific literature but it was recently associated with a fatal overdose in Sweden, found co-authors, including Andrew Camilleri, of Forensic Services SA, Martin Johnston, of Flinders University, and Dr David Caldicott, formerly of the RAH.
Users in Adelaide can be charged if police obtain a chemist's analysis showing the drugs are similar to those banned, leading to charges of possession or dealing.
Since the pills were discovered at the RAH, MCAT has been banned in SA, but before it was listed as illegal the paper also highlighted how easily contradictory chemical evidence could have allowed it to be legal in SA as an "analogue".
May 20, 2010