Man dies and seven ill amid contaminated pills fear

A yellow-green hi-vis jacket with the word 'police' written in silver letters on a blue background
Cleveland Police said a possibly compromised batch of zopiclone could "cause significant illness" [PA Media]

A man has died after taking what police believe was "potentially contaminated" zopiclone, a medication which is used to treat insomnia.

Cleveland Police said the man was thought to have taken pills from a possibly compromised batch of the drug, which could "cause significant illness or lead to an overdose".

It said seven other people, believed to have taken the pills, were treated at North Tees General Hospital in Stockton-on-Tees on Friday. Six have since been discharged.

Issuing a warning to drug users, the force said anyone with information about the batch of medication or "concerns about drugs in the community" should get in touch.

The NHS describes zopiclone as a "type of sleeping pill that can be taken for short-term treatment of severe insomnia".

It also states that the medicine "is only available on prescription".

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