Monday, April 03, 2006

Addicts warned of deadly heroin deals

The Scotsman

A series of heroin overdoses in the west of Scotland provoked a health alert from police yesterday, amid fears that a deadly batch of the drug is in circulation.

Over the past month one man has died from while three addicts have been treated for overdoses and survived.

All the victims were from East Kilbride in South Lanarkshire, and Strathclyde Police believe that they could have taken a high-purity sample of the drug.

The Scottish Drug Enforcement Agency recently issued a warning about heroin of higher than normal strength being sold in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Tayside.

Forensic analysis of heroin seized in Tayside earlier this year found its purity level was 60 per cent, much higher than the average of 48 per cent for last year.

The SDEA also pointed out that a typical "deal" contained 125mg of the drug, compared with the usual 100mg.

Drugs police warned that the combination of a higher purity level and the increase in weight of a deal was potentially deadly.

Strathclyde Police said there was no evidence to link this high-purity heroin with the drug circulating in East Kilbride, but urged addicts to be cautious.

A force spokeswoman said: "There is a need to reinforce the message that taking illegal drugs is inherently dangerous, and we would ask that should people wish to take these types of drugs, that they take precautions to make sure they are safe."

She added: "Strathclyde Police works in close co-operation with Lanarkshire Alcohol and Drug Action Teams, and should drug-users wish more information in relation to reducing their exposure to risk, we would urge that they seek out that advice from health professionals."

By Jude Sheerin


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