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Drug users warned of deadly rogue valium cocktail.

Drugs workers in Northumberland have issued a warning that users are dicing with death by mixing rogue tranquillisers with other drugs and alcohol.

Evidence has emerged that people in the Wansbeck and Blyth Valley areas are mixing potentially lethal quantities of street valium and painkillers with heroin and alcohol.

Yesterday the Northumberland Drugs Action Team (DAT) said one recent death was already being linked to a possible cocktail of valium and methadone and more could follow unless users took more care.

DAT, which is part of Northumberland County Council, says it has information that users are experimenting by mixing handfuls of valium.

Northumbria Police recently issued warnings about a batch of blue valium tablets with the letters HK stamped on them circulating in Blyth and Berwick.

Yesterday Vanessa Bainbridge, the county's DAT co-ordinator, said: "This is not prescription valium from the chemist but it is being sold on the streets and it could have come from anywhere.

"The tablets are selling for as little as pounds 1 and users mistakenly believe they're taking a lower risk than other illegal drugs. As well as the blue tablets, we understand there are also white tablets being passed off as a benzodiazepine.

"Our message is that taking street medication is a lottery. Mixing opiates with valium is a killer and you don't know what strength it is until it is too late." DAT has been awarded about pounds 1m from the Government to tackle illegal substance use in Northumberland over the next three years. There are a range of drugs support groups and services available in the Northumberland area.

If you are over 18 and live in Blyth Valley contact the Community Substance Misuse Service on (01670) 396310. For those living in Ashington, Bedlington and Morpeth ring (01670) 396324.

People under 18 can get information from Sorted on (01670) 500150.
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Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 21, 2004
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