Pubdate: Wed, 14 Jan 2009
Source: Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser (UK)
Contact:  2009 Scottish & Universal Newspapers Limited
Author: Gordon Robertson
Bookmark: (Heroin)


Police are investigating the deaths of drug users who may have injected
contaminated heroin.

Two people have died from the flesh-eating bug necrotising fasciitis,
including a woman from Monklands on Saturday, January 3.

The other death was a man, also from Lanarkshire, on Christmas Eve.

The Advertiser revealed last week that a "bad batch" of heroin was being
distributed in the area and likely to be the cause of the fatalities.

Now an appeal for information has been issued to get the killer drug off
the street.

A police spokesman said: "Strathclyde Police, in conjunction with NHS
Lanarkshire, is investigating the deaths of two individuals and the
infection of two others who may have injected contaminated heroin."

In two of the cases the heroin has turned black when prepared for
injection - normally the drug would turn a muddy brown colour when mixed
with liquid before use.

It is believed that the heroin could have been cut with another unknown
ingredient that caused the contamination.

So far indications are that the contaminated drug may have been sourced
from the Lanarkshire area.

A similar outbreak across Scotland and the north of England in 2000 led to
20 deaths in Glasgow.

Health bosses have urged drug users to smoke heroin rather than inject the

The police spokesman added: "We would ask drug users who experience any
abnormal symptoms, any redness or swelling around the infected area or any
difference in the physical appearance of heroin, to seek early medical

"Anyone with information regarding the supply of heroin and, in
particular, information relating to this investigation, is asked to
contact Detective Inspector Garry Church at the dedicated incident room in
East Kilbride on 01355 564057. Alternatively information can be given to
Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."