Some youngsters in Australia have started abusing dangerous chemical cocktails of tranquillizers, sleeping pills and other legal and illicit drugs, warns an Australian health expert.
"People are more and more playing chemistry. They take an upper, like energy drinks or illegal drugs like ecstasy, then to soften the landing ... they take the benzos, the Valium-type drugs, so they don't crash and burn so harshly ... It's a hell of a mess," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted the head of emergency medicine at St Vincent's Hospital, Gordian Fulde, as saying.
The caution comes just two weeks after the Queensland State of Origin rugby league squad was rocked by claims that players had been mixing the controversial sleeping pill Stilnox with the energy drink Red Bull, allegedly to produce a "high" that would evade drug tests.
While Stilnox abuse is believed to be have declined since claims that it was involved in the death of the actor Heath Ledger, the misuse of other pharmaceuticals has increased.
The new study suggests that the number of people using tranquillizers and sleeping pills recreationally has increased by about 40 per cent in over three years.
Doctors, however, say that more research is needed to understand the worsening problem.
Suzanne Nielsen, a researcher at the Turning Point Drug and Alcohol Center, says that pharmaceutical drugs have overtaken cannabis in the US as the first-time abusers' choice.
"The problem, from what we know, is not of that magnitude here. But if we don't intervene now it could become so," she said.
She further said that people were turning to pharmaceutical drugs because they were fairly cheap and easily available as compared to illicit drugs, and also because they were considered to be safe.