KUALA LUMPUR - A new party drug that is still legal may have caused the death of six youths at the recent Future Music Festival Asia (FMFA) concert.
Dr Mahmud Mazlan, who runs 10 clinics specialising in drug abuse treatment, said he felt the deaths were not due to drug overdose as widely reported.
It was more likely caused by mephedrone, a party drug used recently in the West, which caught on in Jakarta since last year, he said.
Dr Mahmud also said his patients had confirmed to him that the drug, reported to have caused several deaths in the West, had already reached Malaysian shores and was being freely marketed online.
An online search found a number of Kuala Lumpur-based advertisements selling the substance. Peddlers and users are also believed to be actively promoting it via social media.
It is also learned that both mephedrone and Eramin-5 have overtaken ecstasy as the two most popular drugs at rave parties as these have a stronger effect.
"More than a dozen countries have banned this party drug because of the fatalities it caused. What happened at the festival appeared to be similar to mephedrone-related deaths reported in the West," he said.
Mephedrone is still legal in Malaysia because it has not been gazetted under the Dangerous Drugs Act despite the number of fatalities reported overseas.
"Urine and blood tests currently used by authorities are not able to detect mephedrone precursors. So, authorities tend to mistake it for methamphetamine.