Image: Georgina Bartter (via Facebook)
An ectasy tablet known as ‘Purple Speaker’ may have been responsible for the death of 19-year-old Georgina Bartter at a Sydney music festival on Saturday.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, police have been informed by a number of Harbourlife’s revellers that the purple pill was being sold throughout the festival.
Detectives are now planning to investigate the various drugs they seized during a raid on the festival, which resulted in over 70 arrests. However, the exact substance Ms Bartter consumed before she collapsed won’t be known until toxicology test results are released.
We previously reported:
What should have been a carefree, sun-soaked day out on Sydney Harbour has ended in heartbreak for the friends and family of a 19-year-old woman.
Georgina Bartter from Sydney’s north shore was at the Harbourlife music festival on Saturday when she collapsed on the dance floor just after 4pm. Ms Bartter’s friends tell The Daily Mail she started shivering “as if she was getting cold” before she collapsed, and then began convulsing. After a bystander raised the alarm with police and paramedics on the scene, the accounting student was rushed to St Vincent’s Hospital, where she died of multiple organ failure on Saturday night.
According to police statements, Ms Bartter had taken one and a half pills that contained a combination of drugs; reports today suggest ecstasy may have been implicated.
Ms Bartter’s friends and family are understandably devastated by their loss. Her family have released a statement, reading: “She was a beautiful and vibrant young woman, who was much loved and will be sadly missed … She had allergies, and it [taking drugs] was extremely out of character.”
Tragically, Ms Bartter isn't the first young woman to make headlines for a drug-related death. For many, this weekend's sad news revives the memory of Anna Wood, who collapsed into a coma after taking an ecstasy tablet at a rave in 1995 - eerily, the same year Georgina Bartter was born. In the wake of their 15-year-old daughter's death, the Wood family launched a campaign to educate young people about the dangers of drug use and released the book Anna's Story.
According to the most recent figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there were 1427 overdose deaths recorded nationally in 2012.
While the substances Ms Bartter ingested on Saturday won't be confirmed until autopsy results are released, her death is a cruel reminder of the risks inherent in illicit drug use. A major problem is the fact there's no way of knowing exactly what's in a pill, even if it's sold under a recognisable name like ecstasy - and chemical concentrations can change from one tablet to the next.
"Young women, young men, they want to know the contents of everything that they eat, they'll look at food labels, they'll look at cosmetics, they're very particular about things, yet some of them ... turned up [at Harbourlife] with the intent to consume some of those products. They have no idea what's contained in them," Superintendent Mark Walton, commander of Sydney City Command, tells the Sydney Morning Herald.
This is what led to the death of another Sydney woman, Annabel Catt, at the Good Vibrations festival in February 2007. The 20-year-old dance teacher had purchased what she thought was an ecstasy tablet from a friend. However, unbeknownst to Ms Catt, the pill been laced with paramethoxyamphetamine (PMA), a toxic hallucinogenic substance that's often used as a substitute for MDMA.