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Rise in Glasgow drug deaths linked to 'street Valium'

Drugs that have been illegally made and sold as Valium are being closely linked to an ‘unprecedented’ number of fatal overdoses in Glasgow, according to the city’s NHS addiction services.

‘Street Valium’, also known as ‘street blues’, could be the reason behind the 43 per cent spike in drug deaths between January and October 2018, compared with the same period the previous year. There has also been an increase in non-fatal overdoses being treated at hospitals and crisis services across Scotland’s largest city. 

Chair of Glasgow’s Alcohol & Drug Partnership, Susanne Millar, explained that dealers are selling it for ‘pennies’ to those living in homelessness accommodations:

“People are dicing with death by taking this drug, particularly if it is mixed with alcohol and other drugs. Warnings have been issued to people by homelessness and addiction services, but, sadly, dealers are targeting the most vulnerable.”

Saket Priyadarshi, associate medical director at NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde Addiction Services, warned of the dangers of the potentially fatal drug:

“I have been very concerned about the use of street blues for some time now. The quality and dosage can be very variable. Although final toxicology is not yet available on the recent deaths in Glasgow, all the evidence suggest that the use of street blues is associated with the worrying trend of increasing drug-related deaths.”

Just last month, a drugs gang was jailed for producing around £1.6 million worth of street Valium at a garage in Paisley, Renfrewshire, where police seized a pill press able to produce 250,000 tablets per hour.

In addition to street Valium, the use of naloxone, a drug that can reverse the effects of an opiate overdose, has also risen.

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