Sunday, 3 Mar 2024

Inside horrifying Flesh-eating drug crisis that is turning major UK city into zombie apocalypse | The Sun

GRUESOME photos reveal how a flesh-eating drug crisis is triggering a zombie apocalypse in London.

Heroin and crack cocaine users have arrived at A&E in recent weeks with rotting limbs, gaping flesh wounds and leaking abscesses.

But community workers in Tower Hamlets, East London, fear addicts are in fact injecting synthetic opioids and other substances laced with lethal chemicals which is devastating their bodies.

Outreach worker Abdi Hassan, from Coffee Afrik, thinks the “flesh-eating disease” plaguing London could have links to the use of xylazine.

The animal sedative – known as "tranq" – is behind a drug crisis in America which, when mixed with ultra strong synthetic opioids like fentanyl, can be fatal.

The concoction starves the brain of oxygen, slows a person’s breathing and rapidly reduces their heart rate instantly.

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"Tranq" is estimated to have killed 107,000 people in the US in 2021.

If it doesn't kill a user, the drug can leave skin to deteriorate so severely at injection sites that many have needed amputations.

The drug's popularity is thought to have exploded after the Taliban banned poppy farming in Afghanistan in April 2022, strangling the heroin trade.

Back in Tower Hamlets, Abdi told the Local Democracy Reporting service synthetic opioids "fill the market void" for heroin.

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And two addicts warned: “You don’t know how big the problem is. You’re only just scratching the surface."

Dr Emily Finch, chair of addictions faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, added: "We genuinely don't know whether this is the beginning of a really big problem or whether it's a bit of a blip."

In May last year, the zombie drug took its first life in the UK.

Karl Warburton, 43, was found dead at his home in Solihull – his death certificate listed xylazine as contributing to, but not directly causing, his death.

But an expert fears the West Midlands' dad isn't the first in the UK to die after using it – nor will he be the last.

National Programme on Substance Abuse Deaths group director Caroline Copeland told The Times: “Xylazine is not in the standard drug screens done and there could be many more going undetected.

"How big is the UK’s Xylazine problem? This could be the tiniest tip of a growing iceberg.”

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