Three Brighton heroin deaths spark 'party drug' fears

Syringe and heroin powder Image copyright Science Photo Library
Image caption Three people have died - the most recent on 13 January

Heroin-related deaths of three people in three months in Brighton have sparked concerns the substance is being used as a "party drug".

Sussex Police said two people had been arrested over two of the deaths and all three were linked to heroin.

Brighton's deputy director of public health said those who died did not appear to be habitual heroin users.

Dr Peter Wilkinson said all three were in their 20s and 30s and they may have used it on the club or party scene.

He said officials were concerned they were unaware of the dangers of using heroin, or may not have realised they were taking heroin.

He added it was also possible they had chosen to snort heroin rather than inject it in the belief it reduced risks, but warned taking heroin by any route was dangerous.

Det Insp Julie Wakeford said Sussex Police investigated all heroin-related deaths, but added: "This can be difficult at times because it is often the case that the only person who knows the source of the heroin is deceased."

Rick Bradley, operations manager for Addaction, which helps young people, said the safe option was not to take a substance.

But he said if people were intent on using a substance they should minimise the risks by taking small amounts, not "redosing", researching the substance and its effects, and obtaining it from a "trusted source".

"There is no such thing as a reputable drug dealer but there will be people who, if they're friends, are less likely to give you something that is potentially very dangerous," he added.

Police said a 26-year-old man was found dead on 21 November, a 32-year-old man died on 11 December and a 20-year-old woman died from a heroin overdose on 13 January.

A 48-year-old man has been arrested over the death of the man aged 32, and a 22-year-old man has been arrested over the death of the woman. Both men have been bailed.

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