Police and NHS issue warnings after deaths

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Detectives investigating six suspected drugs-related deaths are urging anyone with information about the sale of Class A drugs to come forward saying “do you want your loved ones to be going through what these families are?”

Two men arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs in connection with the investigation have been released on conditional bail until 22 August while further enquiries are being made.

However, they currently remain in custody in relation to other unconnected matters.

Three men and three women sadly died in south Essex between 28 and 30 July.

Tests are underway to identify the drug or substance involved but our focus remains on Class A drugs.

Detective Inspector Julie Gowen, from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “We are carrying out an extensive investigation involving a team of officers who are working around the clock.

“Our enquiries are progressing well and we’ve spoken to a significant number of witnesses already and are following a number of lines of enquiry, including the possibility that not all those who’ve died had taken the same substance.

“However, our focus remains on Class A drugs and I need anyone with information about who’s selling them, particularly in south Essex, to come forward and that includes people from the drug-taking community.

“Information about who is selling Class A drugs and where could not only help our investigation but it could save your life too.

“If you don’t feel comfortable speaking to the police you can call Crimestoppers 100 percent anonymously.

“Six people have, sadly, lost their lives and six families have been left grieving for their loved ones so it’s really important we provide them with the answers they need.

“If you have information about who’s selling Class A drugs I want you to think about those families and whether you’d want your family to be going through what they are now.

“If you have any information about these deaths or the sale of Class A drugs – in south Essex or across the county – we need you to call us on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Drug advice

“We are re-iterating our message that Class A drugs are dangerous and we urge you not to take them at any time, but particularly not at the moment.

“We continue to advise anyone who has taken Class A drugs and feels unwell or concerned to seek medical advice.”

Public Health England has issued the following advice:

“We are urging drug users to be extra careful about what they are taking. We strongly advise them not to use alone and to test a small amount first.

“They need to look out for each other and be alert to any signs of an overdose, such as lack of consciousness, shallow or no breathing, ‘snoring’, and blueing of the lips and fingertips.

“They should immediately call for an ambulance and use any available naloxone if someone overdoses on opioids.

“We strongly advise all dependent drug users to get support from local drug services.

NHS England has issued this advice:

“Anyone who is concerned about a medical problem and isn’t sure what to do, can get help online or over the phone using NHS 111.

“Visit 111.nhs.uk or call 111 from your phone for advice. NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

“If it is a medical emergency – if someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk – call 999.”

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