‘Tried to scream but my mouth wouldn’t move’

The backpacker returns to the house.
The backpacker returns to the house.

THREE of the backpackers to survive a harrowing drug overdose have returned to the house where the near-death experience happened.

Two men and a woman were seen returning to the Victoria Park home yesterday afternoon, one wearing his hospital gown and another still wearing his ECG electrodes while they laughed, hugged and shared a handshake with friends.

The trio were three of the nine foreigners rushed to various Perth hospitals on January 2 after all of them suffered a suspected mass drug overdose at the Colombo Street home.

The backpackers return home.
The backpackers return home.

And while the six discharged from hospital managed to pull through the overdose relatively unscathed, three of their friends are still in hospital in a critical condition.

The three people, two male French citizens and one German woman, are in induced comas for their "own protection".

One of the discharged men spoke to The West Australian and said the drug made it feel like his face was "melting off".

He said he was "trying to scream for help" but couldn't get his mouth to move.

David McCutcheon, a doctor at Royal Perth Hospital, said it was lucky an ambulance was called. Two flatmates who didn't take the drug called 000 after the nine started to overdose.

"They didn't know where they were," Dr McCutcheon told WA Today.

"They were rolling around on their stretchers. It is lucky someone called an ambulance.

"Several of these people would have died without medical attention ... their bodies were overheating, they were having seizures," he said.

Police released the ages and nationalities of the victims yesterday.

Those affected include five French citizens aged 21, 22 and 24, two German citizens aged 21 and 22, one Italian citizen aged 25 and a Moroccan aged 24.

Neighbours spoke about the terrifying way the nine backpackers were behaving when they were wheeled out by paramedics just after 11pm on Tuesday.

One of the backpackers laughs with a friend.
One of the backpackers laughs with a friend.

Neighbour Sophie Barnett told Radio 6PRnone of them were "on this planet".

"We saw people coming out on stretchers, most of them were unconscious but one of them was having ... a spasm and punching and kicking," she said.

"The other was a bit violent, he was trying to get out of the bed and he was strapped down.

"All of them you could tell they were not on this planet, they were off in their own world. It was so scary," she added.

The substance, believed to be a white powder, is being forensically tested and the Organised Crime Squad are investigating. A report detailing what exactly the drug is was expected to be completed today.

One person who was living with the backpackers believed they ingested "zombie", a synthetic drug part of a wide "sympathomimetic" group.

Seven News understands the package came with a pamphlet with the word "scoop" printed on it and inside there was a lightning bolt symbol on it. Inside that, there was a white powder inside. It was sent from New York on December 11.

It had been addressed to someone who had apparently never lived at the house by mistake.

The home where nine backpackers overdosed.
The home where nine backpackers overdosed.
Another man still had his electrode glued on.
Another man still had his electrode glued on.

Topics:  backpackers drug overdose violent zombie

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