Six people were taken to St Vincent’s Hospital with four requiring life support after overdosing on GHB on Sunday night.
A St Vincent’s spokeswoman said the figure was out of the ordinary and twice as high as commonly seen on a regular Friday or Saturday night.
The spokeswoman was not sure whether the overdoses had occurred at Sunday night’s Azure Party or at other clubs.
There may be others who went elsewhere or were looked after by the doctor crews down there, she said.
We wouldn’t normally have four people that needed to be put on life support. That’s something we would usually only see with big events, she said.
Sydney Star Observer drug columnist Paul Dillon from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre worked as a drug consultant for the organisers of the Azure Party. He would not say how many GHB overdoses had happened at Azure.
Dillon said G use was a continuing problem and something to be concerned about. He stressed overdoses were also happening outside of the gay community and figures of hospitalisations did not represent use of G in the gay community, or at gay and lesbian parties.
It was a variety of people turning up at hospitals, Dillon said.
Some people are just not heeding the warnings. We cannot give good messages around this drug.
With ecstasy we can say do this, it will reduce the risk.
With alcohol we can say that too. But with G it’s very difficult to give a simple message.
New Mardi Gras co-chair Michael Woodhouse said he had heard about overdoses on the weekend. Woodhouse said New Mardi Gras was adopting a strict policy against GHB use at Saturday night’s party.
We’re obviously really concerned about G, Woodhouse said.
We’re asking people not to bring it, and not to take it.
We’ll also be conducting random pat downs during the night looking for glass. And we’re working out a procedure for disposing of G.