Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Is Deadly Batch of Drugs for Sale out There?

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Is Deadly Batch of Drugs for Sale out There?

Article excerpt

Byline: By Brenda Hickman and Adam Jupp

Fears that tainted supply of cocaine may have killed teen

Tests are being carried out today to discover if killer drugs are for sale on the streets.

It's feared a rogue batch of cocaine is to blame for the death of a teenager and has left a woman fighting for life.

Mark Brown, 18, died in Newcastle General Hospital, his death comes as it emerged a person is being killed by drugs in the North East every week.

Mark, of Dove Close, Killingworth, North Tyneside, was one of three people admitted to hospital over the last few days showing similar symptoms of drugs misuse.

A 27-year-old woman, also from North Tyneside, is in a critical condition and a 22-year-old from Hebburn, has been discharged from hospital after treatment.

All three were initially admitted to North Tyneside General.

Police said initial drugs analysis had proved inconclusive and further tests will be carried out today.

It is understood Mark had suffered delayed signs of paralysis as a result of the adverse reaction to the drugs.

A Chronicle probe today found more than 50 families are being ripped apart every year by deadly substances.

Our shock figures come at a time when street prices for many hard drugs have hit an all time low in the region.

We worked with the National Programme on Substance Abuse Deaths, at St George's University, London, to find out how many people are killed by drugs each year.

They collected the most recent figures from coroners courts around the region. Drug-related deaths are classed as those where a substance was the direct cause of death or where drugs were detected during a post-mortem.

In Gateshead and South Tyneside, there were 11 drug-related deaths in 2005 and 15 in 2004.

This compares to Newcastle, where 27 inquests concluded drugs had played a part in someone's death between 2004 and 2005.

Between the two coroners courts in County Durham, 11 cases involving substances reported back last year. This is on top of 11 the previous year.

In north Northumberland, five deaths happened last year, with a further two inquests from previous years concluding in 2005. …

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