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Third death from 'rogue' heroin (UK)
    #2641322 - 05/05/04 01:29 PM (13 years, 10 months ago)

A rogue batch of high-purity heroin is being blamed for the death of a third drug user in Swansea in the past 10 days.

Rachel Ann Evans, 22, who was found dead at a flat in Llansamlet area, is the latest victim of the class A drug.

Police are warning of further deaths unless they trace the source and are promising anyone who helps will have their identities kept secret.

Drugs project workers are also passing on guidance to addicts in the city.

The latest death follows those of Vernon Bouhaire, 25, of Uplands and Krystal Mainwaring, 18, of Portmead.

Three other people have also been taken to hospital for treatment because of the unusually high strength of the batch.

Appealing for anyone with information to come forward, Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Anderson promised them confidentiality and anonymity.

"This is a very serious situation with three deaths and it could only be a matter of time before there are more.

"It is important to warn people to be vigilant.

"There is a strong potential for more people to become victims.

"I want to make the strongest appeal possible for people who know anything which may help trace the source to come forward.

Roger Duncan, director of the Swansea Drugs Project, said although some users in the city were aware of the rogue heroin in circulation, others were not.

"There is lots of heroin in south Wales but the quality is usually about 50% heroin and 50% other things," he explained.

"This batch is stronger than usual - when someone uses a batch which is stronger it can cause an overdose."

'Painful process'

Project workers were giving users three pieces of advice.

"If you are using a new batch you should really use a test dose before you use a full dose," he said.

"If you are injecting heroin do not do it on your own. Heroin does not usually cause an instant overdose so there is an opportunity to call for medical help."

He said users should also avoid taking heroin if they have recently taken alcohol or tranquilisers as they can make a lethal mix.

Mr Duncan said deaths from overdoses were increasing in the region.

"Heroin is a very dangerous drug but people can overcome their addiction," he said.

"It's a long and painful process but people do come out the other end."

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