The recent deaths of two young adults who attended separate New Year’s Eve weekend music festivals caused the subject of pill testing to regain relevancy in Australia. The deceased, a 20-year-old man who attended Beyond The Valley in Lardner, later identified as Callum Edwards, and a 22-year-old man who went to Lost Paradise in Glenworth Valley both died after taking what police called an “unknown substance.” Yet as new details emerge in Edwards’ case, it appears that the death of the Lost Paradise attendee may be the only death that might be attributed to ingestion and subsequent overdose of an “unknown substance.”
Officials promptly transported Edwards to a local hospital after he collapsed at the festival. Medical personnel, however, did not find signs of the suspected overdose in their examination of Edwards, but tiger snake venom, as originally reported by The Herald. Tiger snakes are a known species of the southern regions of Australia, with at least one death each year from a bite on average. Given the venomous nature of the snake’s bite, the mortality rate following an unattended tiger snake bite is between 40-60 percent.
“We definitely known there was a reptile involved,” Callum’s mother, Lynette Callum said. Police have deemed the specifics of Callum’s death as of yet “undetermined,” but are not investigating Callum’s death as a “suspicious” incident. It is currently unclear whether drugs were also present in Callum’s system at the time of hospitalization.
Photo credit: University of Queensland