Happy high?: Herbal party pills, Red Diablos, have been sent for testing to see if they contain any illegal substances.
Happy high?: Herbal party pills, Red Diablos, have been sent for testing to see if they contain any illegal substances.

Legal party pills may be dangerous

RED Diablos or Red Devils – call them what you will but be wary of the latest brand of so-called legal “party pills” as they may contain traces of banned substances, the Warwick Police have warned.

A quantity of the bright red pills, embossed with a devil’s face logo, were located by officers who intercepted a vehicle in Warwick on Saturday night.

A spokesman for the Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB) said the pills would be sent for scientific analysis to determine if they contain any traces of chemicals listed in the Drugs Misuse Act, which could result in charges being laid.

Herbal “highs” are growing in popularity among the young party-going set with manufacturers promising a natural thrill which mimics the effects of illegal drugs such as ecstasy and amphetamines.

The industry is largely unregulated and markets its products with claims of “adding a kick to your partying” without getting in trouble with the law.

Fears over the pills were heightened late last year when a Queensland teen collapsed after taking the caffeine-based pill Giggle, recording a heart rate of 166 beats per minute.

She recovered in hospital but health experts have called for more comprehensive testing of herbal party pills, many of which are imported from New Zealand under a loophole which allows them to be classed as food rather than regulated therapeutic goods.

The pills seized here on Saturday evening were located after police pulled over a vehicle on Pratten Street.

“The individual concerned advised police he had purchased the pills from a herbal outlet in the Gold Coast area,” the CIB spokesman said.

“We don’t know if they contain any illicit substance and are awaiting test results.

“These kinds of pills can produce an effect similar to ecstasy and are in some cases purchased quite cheaply at around $5 each and re-sold for $50.”

The CIB spokesman said a growing trend was for illicit producers to disguise drugs like ecstasy as lollies, such as jelly babies or Turkish Delight to avoid police detection.

Ecstasy or MDMA is a hallucinogenic drug synthesized from methamphetamine and is so named because of the euphoria and heightened sensuality attributed to the drug experience, typically consumed by revellers attending ‘rave’ parties at nightclubs.

Drug Arm Warwick clinical worker Ben Reynolds said he was not aware of disguised ecstasy circulating in Warwick.

But he said ecstasy was a concern in any community and said it was commonly mixed with methamphetamine to enhance its effects.

“While cannabis and alcohol remain the biggest problem drugs on the Downs, ecstasy and methamphetamine remain drugs of concern,” he said. “While it is here, ecstasy is not as common here as it is in Brisbane or the Gold Coast due to Warwick not having the same rave scene.”



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