Jul 18

Amateur attempt to strengthen drug went up in smoke, Wagga court told


HIGH after consuming methamphetamine (ice), a Wagga district man tried to increase the strength of the mood disorder drug ritalin by grinding it into powder and adding certain liquid chemicals.

But the chemical reaction created smoke to an extent that the alarmed man called the Rural Fire Service for help.

The failed project led to the man being charged with nine drug-related offences.

In Wagga Local Court on Monday, seven of the charges were withdrawn after the man pleaded guilty to one count of possessing a prescribed restricted substance (20 diazepam tablets) and one count of possessing a prohibited drug (ritalin).

The charges were dismissed under Section 32 of the Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act after magistrate Michael Antrum accepted medical opinion the man was suffering from a mental condition at the time of the offences.

The man will have to follow a treatment plan.

According to police facts tendered to the court, the chemical reaction occurred on a rural property on January 1.

Police said that for some time before then, the man had been importing prescription drugs over the internet without prescriptions from suppliers in countries such as the Philippines, India and Romania.

He received the drugs in the mail.

Diazepam is used to treat anxiety disorders, while ritalin is used to treat attention deficit disorder.

Mr Antrum accepted that the man was trying to increase the strength of ritalin through a chemical reaction for his own use and he was not trying to sell the drugs to other people.

“It was a fairly ham-fisted attempt to get something more potent,” Mr Antrum said.

“It all went horribly wrong.”

According to police, they found nearly 1800 ritalin tablets in the man’s house.

The magistrate warned about the dangers to the community of prescription drugs obtained illegally over the internet.

“Imported medications are often exploited by criminal enterprises, which only adds to the misery of families and individuals,” Mr Antrum said.

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