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Replacement of Australian pain-killer with water affects hundreds

Published on Oct 16, 2012 3:57 PM

SYDNEY (AFP) - Hundreds of Australians were given water instead of pain-killing medication after thieves siphoned off the drugs from ambulance supplies and refilled the empty vials from the tap, officials said on Tuesday.

Authorities in the state of Victoria said large amounts of the drug fentanyl had been taken and an investigation was under way.

"We can confirm that Victoria Police are investigating allegations of theft from a number of Ambulance Victoria response stations," a police spokesman said, adding that two men had been questioned over the theft.

Ambulance Victoria chief executive Greg Sassella said hundreds of patients were affected by the switch.

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