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Traveller’s mouthwash was ‘coma in a bottle’

January 18, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Mouthwash isn’t really mouthwash if it can cause abrupt loss of consciousness, memory loss, breathing difficulties, coma and death.

A 33-year-old Australian man returning from a trip to Europe has been charged with allegedly smuggling 450mls of Gamma-butyrolactone (GBL) into Sydney Airport in his luggage.

Australian Border Force (ABF) officers intercepted the man at Sydney Airport following a referral from the Border Watch program. It’s a reminder that a lot more goes on at airports than most members of the travelling public ever see.

Examination of the man’s luggage revealed a mouthwash bottle full of a liquid which tested positive for GBL.

GBL, also known as coma in a bottle, liquid fantasy, midnight blue, blue nitro and paint stripper, is most commonly taken orally in a liquid form. It can cause sudden loss of consciousness, loss of memory, respiratory difficulties, coma and death.

When mouthwash isn’t really mouthwash

GBL achieved notoriety in Australia as the drug that killed cruise passenger Dianne Brimble in 2002 after it was administered to her unknowingly while she was on a cruise ship.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Gamma-Butyrolactone (GBL), has widespread industrial use.

“It is a common solvent found in paint strippers, nail polish removers, stain removers and circuit board cleaners,” WHO says.

The man alleged to be carrying it was subsequently arrested by Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers.

GBL is relatively low-cost and is having an increasingly negative effect on the community, particularly in regional areas, the ABF says.

Acting ABF Regional Commander NSW, Brett Totten, said the airport seizure a great example of the value that the public can add to intelligence gathering.

“We obviously work closely with law enforcement and intelligence agencies here and overseas to inform our border intelligence, but sometimes all it takes is a report from a member of public.”

“Even the smallest piece of information can potentially lead to the unravelling of a major crime syndicate. This week it has stopped a dangerous drug from reaching the public.”

“Every allegation received from the community is taken seriously and acted on where necessary.”

Edited by Peter Needham

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