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People are being urged to stay away from drugs following the deaths of four young people in Newcastle and Washington last weekend. Health officials have warned of the potentially fatal consequences of ketamine and MDMA following the deaths of four young people in the North East.
Two year-old women and a year-old man - all students - died in Newcastle last weekendas did an year-old man in Washington.
Investigations are ongoing but police suspect the tranquiliser ketamine is linked to the two year-old women's deaths. The year-old and year-old males are thought by police to have taken MDMAotherwise known as ecstasy. Post mortems are due to confirm if drugs played a role in their deaths.
Northumbria Police has made 11 arrests in connection with the deaths. They can cause severe intoxication and their risk also ificantly increases when used alongside other drugs and particularly alcohol, which unfortunately is often used at the same time. As well as being a general anaesthetic which medical professionals can administer to patients, ketamine is sold illegally as a party drug.
Ketamine can make people feel dream-like, relaxed and trigger hallucinations, but it can also cause anxiety, nausea, confusion, increased blood pressure, raised heart rates and can be fatal, Frank, the Home Office's drug advisory service says. You could also choke, especially if you vomit," says Frank's website. Recreational drug users also face the added danger of buying from dealers, who may cut ketamine - which is usually sold as a powder -with other dangerous substances. Ketamine is a class B drug. Possession convictions can lead to a prison sentence of up to five years, Talk to frank mandy fines, or both.
Dealers face up to 14 years in prison, unlimited fines, or a prison sentence and a fine. MDMA, otherwise known as ecstasy, is usually sold in pill or powder form. It is a class A drug. Possession convictions can lead to a prison sentence of up to seven years, unlimited fines, or both. The maximum penalty for dealing is life in prison, while dealers can also be fined, or locked up and fined. MDMA can trigger a 'loved up' effect which makes users feel Talk to frank mandy, energised, alert and in tune with their surroundings, says Frank.
But it comes with side effects too, including anxiety, panic attacks confusion and comedowns. Use has been linked to liver, kidney and heart problems. MDMA also affects body temperature, heart rate and increases the chance of dehydration. Even testing kits may not find everything.
Some pills are cut with stimulants that are slower to kick in than MDMA, and so users have taken more of the pill or pills and then overdosed. People are urged to abstain from taking MDMA, ketamine and all recreational drugs, but those who do take them are advised to only use small amounts and avoid mixing with other substances.
Public Health England urged people to ring if they or somebody they know comes into danger from taking drugs. The consequences could cost you your life.
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Ketamine and MDMA risks, punishments and why people take the drugs