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Vic footballer in coma after 'flakka' use

AAP logoAAP 18/10/2016 Kaitlyn Offer

A Victorian footballer is in a coma in a Gold Coast hospital, suspected of taking a mystery drug that's hospitalised 15 others.

Riki Stephens and his Heathcote Saints teammates were on an end of season holiday when he ingested a drug at a pub at the weekend, club president Andrew Conforti told AAP.

It's suspected Mr Stephens may have taken "flakka", a synthetic stimulant believed to be behind 16 people being hospitalised after becoming aggressive, non-compliant and dangerous.

The well-liked footballer had finish playing his first season with Heathcote, recruited from Melbourne, when he went on the ill-fated holiday.

Mr Conforti said about nine players, including Mr Stephens, are believed to have taken the drug in two separate groups.

"It's disappointing, but unfortunately they decided to try something and they're now paying the price," he said.

Mr Conforti said the club has held drug education programs in the past and would continue to do so, as well as offering counselling for Mr Stephens' teammates.

Mr Stephens' parents and girlfriend are by his bedside, Mr Conforti said.

"We need to let people know if this drug comes to Melbourne, this is what can happen," Mr Conforti said.

"Riki's not out of the woods yet."

Police are awaiting toxicology tests to formally identify the substance which has resulted in users hallucinating and exhibiting bizarre behaviour.

It comes at a concerning time on Queensland's party strip, with tens-of-thousands expected to flock to the region's nightspots in the coming weeks for the Gold Coast 600 motor race and end-of-year school celebrations.

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