News State Victoria News Footballer in coma after mystery drug overdose on GC

Footballer in coma after mystery drug overdose on GC

Riki Stephens is being remembered as a much loved member of his football team and friendship group. Photo: Facebook
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A Victorian footballer remains in a critical condition in hospital after overdosing on a mystery drug on an end-of-season trip to the Gold Coast.

Riki Stephens was one of 16 people who became unwell after taking an unknown drug on Friday.

He was on the trip with teammates from Heathcote Football Club when he became unwell.

Stephens was one of two people put in an induced coma after taking illicit drugs on the Gold Coast, while another 14 were hospitalised.

It is not yet known what the drugs were, but all patients were hallucinating.

Police believe the drug is a variant of MDMA, but there is no evidence that the 16 people affected took the same drug.

It has also not been confirmed that the drug was Flakka, a synthetic hallucinogen that has been a major problem in the US, where it is referred to as the “zombie” drug.

Overdose ‘a shock to everybody’

Stephens’ football coach, Paul Kennedy, said his parents and girlfriend were by his bedside.

Kennedy said he did not believe Stephens was usually a drug taker.

“I just think it’s a group of guys away on a footy trip,” he said.

Mr Kennedy said the club would provide counselling to Stephens’ teammates as well as further drug education to players in the next year.

“He’s just a fantastic person, he’s got a quality job, quality family, it’s just a shock to everybody,” he said.

“The club as a whole has gone down the path of drug education; obviously in the next 12 months we’re going to be doing some drug education again.”

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