Warning after fourth suspected drugs death

A stock image of the top of a police car, with blue lights flashing.
Police issued a warning about an extremely strong synthetic opioid [Getty]

Police have issued an urgent warning about a stronger than usual batch of drugs after the death of a man in his 40s.

Emergency services were called to The Parade in Swindon town centre in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The man's death was the fourth suspected drug-related death in the area since May, Wiltshire Police said.

The force said all four individuals were believed to have taken what appeared to be heroin before suffering medical episodes.

At the start of May, police and health professionals in Swindon were alerted to a number of cases in which people fell very unwell after taking substances such as heroin and cocaine, requiring medical attention.

The deaths in the Swindon area come after two men died in Devon in April after a "bad batch" of heroin was circulated, and a warning was issued about a synthetic opioid potentially 500 times stronger than heroin was found in Bristol.

Duty Supt Conway Duncan said: “We are in close contact with our colleagues in public health in relation to these circumstances and we are keen to ensure we protect people from harm where possible.

“Of course we would never advocate anyone taking illegal substances, however, we understand there are people with addictions and it is important that they are warned about the batch of drugs which appears to be circulating in Swindon.

“If you are a drug user in the Swindon area, we encourage users not to use alone and to carry the opioid reversal drug naloxone and be aware of the potentially fatal consequences.”

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