A police warning has been issued about a potentially lethal mix of heroin and a powerful painkiller following a number of deaths across the region.
Four deaths in South Yorkshire, two in West Yorkshire and other fatalities in Humberside and Cleveland over recent days have led to police chiefs issuing a new warning to heroin users today.
They suspect that the deaths could be linked to heroin use and have revealed that tests on a number of batches of drugs recovered in the region have found that some have been mixed with a substance called Fentanyl - a painkiller said to be 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.
Street names for the drug include Apache, China Girl and China White.
West Yorkshire Police said tests and enquiries are still being carried out into all the deaths and that it is 'too early to say' whether mixing the drugs was a 'factor'.
Detective Superintendent Nick Wallen, who leads the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Drugs Threat Reduction Group, said: “It’s not possible for the police to state that the presence of this drug has caused the increase in drug related deaths.
“We are however urging those people who regularly use Class A drugs and particularly those who purchase their drugs via street suppliers to be extremely cautious in relation to what they are taking.
"Typical symptoms of a Fentanyl overdose include slow and difficult breathing, nausea and vomiting, dizziness and increased blood pressure. Anyone experiencing any unusual symptoms after taking drugs should seek immediate medical attention.
“All police forces in conjunction with our colleagues from the National Crime Agency are working with partners from public health organisations to offer help and support to those vulnerable to serious harm from drug use.
“It is illegal to possess or supply a Class A drug. We are doing all we can to pursue and bring before the courts those individuals who are responsible for the production and supply of drugs into our communities.”
Anyone who has information about the distribution of drugs should call 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.