As thousands of school leavers prepare to travel to the Gold Coast in the coming months, police are concerned a mystery drug that's already put two people in a coma will wreak havoc.
Gold Coast Supt. Michelle Stenner said there were 16 cases of overdose on the weekend with people aged 18-26, including two people who were put into an induced coma.
Queensland Ambulance Service spokesman Stephen Burns told media the weekend was overrun with drug incidents.
"In the last 24 hours it was the largest cohort of similar drug overdose incidents I've seen in my 24 years working on the Gold Coast."
While the drug was colloquially being linked to U.S. 'zombie drug' flakka, which is a form of MDMA that reportedly makes some people aggressive and strong, police said they were awaiting toxicology reports to determine what the drug was.
"These are dangerous drugs," Stenner said at a press conference.
"These are young people taking substances that they don't know what they are, obviously having very adverse and dire effects on themselves."
Stenner said that with Schoolies approaching, there would be a heightened police presence and focus on drug activity.
"We are always concerned about Schoolies and we are always concerned about dangerous drugs," Stenner said.
"They're called dangerous for a reason."
Greens Leader and former GP Richard Di Natale said the news of overdoses was "highly alarming, particularly as we approach music festival season and Schoolies".
Di Natale said the overdoses should strengthen calls for pill testing at events like Schoolies and music festivals.
"We need to put safety first," Di Natale said in a statement.
"That means drug education, it means allowing individuals to test drugs through scientifically rigorous pill testing.
"Despite our best efforts some people will continue to use drugs so we have responsibility to ensure that individuals know when they might be consuming a highly dangerous substance."