Police issue warning after drugs death

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POLICE are investigating another suspected death from an ecstasy overdose – prompting a warning to drug users from Greater Manchester Police’s top officer.

The death of a 27-year-old woman from Sale in Greater Manchester over the weekend is the 12th to be linked to ecstasy in the region this year.

Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy has now warned party-goers that criminal gangs are mixing the drug with poisonous substances to make more money.

The woman, from the Sale area, was rushed to hospital in the early hours of Saturday morning but died a short time later.

Officers confirmed the woman had died after taking pills believed to be the Class A drug.

A post-mortem is set to take place today although it is likely further toxicology tests taking several weeks will be needed.

It comes after the death of two men in Ashton in January this year.

Jordan Chambers and Gareth Evans died within hours of each other earlier this year after taking a number of pills from what appeared to be a rogue batch of the class A drug.

Police issued an urgent appeal to anyone else who had come across the brightly coloured heart-shaped pills to get in touch and contact a doctor if they had taken them.

Several people did present themselves at hospital as word spread but they were all in the clear.

Nine people were treated after taking the pills in Wigan.

There have also been three deaths in Macclesfield, two in Bolton, two in Buxton, Derbyshire, and further fatalities in Salford and Warrington.

Sir Peter said: “We have been concerned about deaths due to drugs and overdoses and at the same time particularly concerned that criminal gangs are mixing and adulterating drugs with poisonous substances.

“People who take drugs need to be extremely careful and if they have any information about who may be producing this stuff they need to get in touch with us.

“It goes without saying it’s being produced by criminal gangs and a lot of them are reckless about what they put in there and are quite prepared to put in all sorts of substances and mixing it just to make more money.”

Many of the deaths recorded in Greater Manchester since January have involved the use of PMA, an ecstasy-style amphetamine which can be five times stronger than ecstasy.

Also known as ‘pink ecstasy’ or ‘Dr Death’, PMA can also be found as an ingredient in ecstasy.

Dr JS Bamrah, consultant psychiatrist at Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust, said the health service across the region had witnessed a spike in drug users falling ill after taking ecstasy, particularly PMA.

He said: “The problem is these drugs have become more available and they are in a much dirtier form.”