Belfast Telegraph

Scottish police probe Northern Ireland link after seven drug-related deaths

BY ANNA MAGUIRE

Police are investigating whether there is a link between seven drug-related deaths in Scotland and a series of fatalities in Northern Ireland.

Officers in Scotland suspect that the deaths there are linked to so-called 'green Rolex' pills – the same fake ecstasy tablets blamed for a number of sudden deaths in Northern Ireland.

Both forces have been liaising since the PSNI started investigating eight deaths in Belfast and the north west over the past four weeks, which may have been caused by drugs.

Northern Ireland's Health Minister Edwin Poots will be seeking an update from the PSNI at a meeting today on what it is doing to tackle drug dealing following the deaths.

Police are also investigating if a drugs overdose caused the death of Neil Reeves, a father-of-one in his 20s who died at his home in east Belfast in the early hours of Sunday.

Last month the PSNI issued an alert advising people to be careful if they were offered green-coloured tablets with a crown or castle logo imprinted on them.

A teenager died in Scotland on Tuesday morning after taking a fake ecstasy tablet – the seventh reported death linked to the pills in the region.

The 18-year-old died in Alexandria, West Dunbartonshire, near Glasgow.

Police have warned that tablets circulating in Scotland contain toxic chemicals with potentially fatal effects. Officers in the west of Scotland identified the pills as green in colour, which were stamped with a crown logo.

Some have been found to contain dangerous stimulant Methoxyamphetamine, known as PMA, according to the force.

They are also warning of a white pill with the Mitsubishi logo imprinted on it, found to contain the chemicals 5IT or AMT, and a yellow tablet with a star logo.

Police in Northern Ireland hahave ruled out a single killer drug link to the eight deaths although toxicology results have not yet been released. They do not believe the deaths were linked to a "bad batch" of drugs.

However, a spokeswoman for Glasgow Police said the forces are investigating if the deaths on both sides of the water are linked and if they were caused by the fake ecstasy tablets.

"We have not been made aware of any link," she said.

"That is still part of our investigation."

FACTFILE

PMA is a stimulant drug similar to ecstasy, but pills containing it do not have the same effect or take effect as quickly as an ecstasy tablet.

That can lead users to take more pills than they should, as they may believe that more are needed to create a high similiar to ecstasy.

These 'green Rolex' pills have a logo of a crown or castle on them and can be bought for as little as £2.50.

The main cause of death is overheating.

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