Victorian police are training sniffer dogs to detect the party drug GHB it has been reported.
The Australian-first trial is a reaction to the growing popularity of the odourless liquid stimulant, thought to be due to the recent decline in the purity of ecstasy, and may be in part to the large amount of medical instances at recent music events and festivals.
Oliver Markovski from Victoria Police’s Drug and Alcohol Strategy Unit told the media today that users need only about 2ml of the liquid drug for a hit, which is typically added to a water bottle and sipped through the night and the substance only requires a small amount for an overdose.
Markovski said Passive Alert Detection Dogs had traditionally not been trained to pick up the drug, which has been used in the nightclub scene since the 1980s, because of safety issues with the dogs and the prevalence of chemicals used to make the drug.
The chemicals used to make the drug are industrial cleaners – “but once taken into the body, they convert to GHB and there is a massive risk of overdose,” he explains.
The question is now, will the dogs be harmed by being forced to recognise these harmful chemicals and does it fall within the ethical treatment for animals guidelines?