Two men have died and a further three people have been hospitalised due to a suspected contaminated batch of heroin in the Portsmouth area.
A 36-year-old man was pronounced dead at the Queen Alexandra Hospital after being taken ill at Almondsbury Road in Paulsgrove, on Wednesday 1st May.
A 33-year-old man from Fareham was pronounced dead at the same hospital on Thursday 2nd May after arriving the day before.
A similar report was received on 1st May relating to a 40-year-old man in Southsea who was later discharged from hospital.
A member of the public called an ambulance on Friday 3rd May at the same address in Paulsgrove, for the latest victim of the contaminated drug. The 39-year-old woman was later discharged from hospital.
Detective Sergeant Tony Lewis of Portsmouth CID said: “The latest victim of this batch of heroin may have died if it wasn’t for the actions of the member of the public, who called an ambulance.”
Police have stated that drugs have been seized and are currently under analysis, but the Safer New Forest Partnership have warned drug-users that there is a significant and immediate risk.
All victims are thought to have been using the same batch of heroin. Post-mortem examinations are due to take place to establish the exact causes of death in the cases, however detectives believe there is a suspected link between the batch of heroin and the victims.
Three men from Hampshire aged 57, 48 and 32 were arrested on Thursday 2nd May on suspicion of being involved in the supply of the Class A drug.
The 48-year-old and the 32-year-old still remain in custody for questioning over the allegations. The 57-year-old received caution for the possession of cannabis, but was later released with no further action.
A figure from 2009 has estimated that there are approximately 1,200 heroin and crack cocaine users in the Portsmouth area. However, this number may have decreased as there has been a reduction in the number of users nationally.
Detective Sergeant Tony Lewis said: “Protecting the community remains our priority during this investigation into stopping the supply of this batch of heroin.
“We’re in regular contact with our partner agencies to highlight the dangers to anyone who may be affected by substance misuse and to advise drug users to take extra precautions following this spate of illnesses and deaths.
“Police are particularly grateful to drugs intervention workers and counsellors for delivering advice to some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.”