Warnings have been issued by Newcastle City Council and Cleveland Police following deaths and hospitalisations thought to be related to the drug spice.
Newcastle City Council says three deaths in a day are believed to be linked to a "particularly dangerous" batch.
A council spokesperson said:
"We have been informed about three deaths in the past 24 hours in Newcastle that appear to be linked to spice use.Although we are not aware of the type or 'brand', it is likely that there is a particularly dangerous or toxic batch in circulation."No drugs are safe and we advise people not to use substances and not to use spice."These drugs are variable in quality and purity so you can never know what you are using and the effect of mixing with other drugs or alcohol."If you are affected by drugs or alcohol there is help available. This includes support for family members."
Separately Cleveland Police has issued a warning after 11 people were admitted to hospital.
Police are urging people to seek medical attention immediately if they become unwell.
What is spice?
Spice is a mix of herbs and chemicals known as a synthetic cannabinoid. It is a psychoactive substance.Synthetic cannabinoids are man-made drugs and were originally designed to mimic the effects of the active ingredient in cannabis tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which gives the feeling of being stoned.The risks of taking spice include inability to move, breathing difficulties, heart palpitations, seizures and extreme anxiety.Using with other alcohol increases the harmful effects the drug.
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