Public warned about deadly Fantasy drug hidden in beauty products

GBL image

This is a joint media release between the Australian Federal Police and Australian Border Force.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Australian Border Force (ABF) are today issuing a warning to the public about an alarming method of illegal importations of gammabutyrolactone (GBL), commonly used to manufacture the dangerous drug known as ‘Fantasy’.

Police and border agencies are seriously concerned about the methods criminals are using to attempt to import this border controlled drug, also known as ‘coma in a bottle’, which has been found concealed within commercial beauty products imported from China.

In the last month alone four seizures, each containing five litres of the drug was found in containers purporting to be gel used to remove make-up glue. The drug is being unwittingly purchased by the legitimate beauty industry potentially putting the health of consumers at risk.

AFP acting Assistant Commissioner Chris Sheehan today stressed if beauty salons or members of the public have any concerns or adverse reactions to any beauty product, they should seek immediate medical advice.

“The potential harm with using these misleading products, many of which are not labelled, is particularly high in products used for the removal of imitation eye lashes,” acting Assistant Commissioner Sheehan said.

“When ingested this dangerous substance is capable of ruining lives in a single incident.

“This financial year (2016-17) 1,137 litres has been seized nationally, which includes a single shipment of more than one thousand litres, compared with 307 litres in 2015-16 and 435 litres during the 2014-15 financial year.”
“To those importing GBL, you should consider the potential and serious consequences of your actions, which could include prosecution for a serious criminal offence.”

The offence of importing a border controlled drug, namely GBL, carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, or a fine of $1,350,000 – or in some cases, both.

Acting ABF Commander Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Clinton Sims, said ABF remains committed in disrupting the activities of people attempting to import this dangerous chemical.

“Our advanced border detection techniques are finding more concealments and ABF is proud of the work our officers do on the primary line to protect the community,” Acting Commander Sims said.

GBL metabolises into the drug gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) in the body. It can cause abrupt loss of consciousness, memory loss, respiratory difficulties, coma and death.

Note to media:
Image of bottles seized recently and on-camera comments from AFP acting Assistant Commissioner Crime Operations, Chris Sheehan can be downloaded via this link.

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