Officers investigating the tragic loss of four young lives over the weekend have made ten arrests and carried out searches with drugs dogs.
A large-scale investigation is ongoing after two 18-year-old women, and two men, aged 18 and 21, were found unresponsive at addresses over the weekend.
Drugs are suspected to have been a factor in the deaths.
Shortly after 6.05am on Saturday, police received the first report of an unresponsive woman at an address on Richardson Road. The 18-year-old, who was a student at Newcastle University, is believed to have taken a quantity of ketamine and was pronounced dead at the scene.
An 18-year-old male was arrested on suspicion of supplying a Class B drug and has since been released on police bail.
Then, just before 3.50pm on Saturday, we were called to a report of a cardiac arrest at a property on Coach Road Estate, Washington, where an 18-year-old had reportedly taken a quantity of MDMA and fallen ill.
Officers and emergency services attended but the man, who is not a university student, was pronounced dead a short time after.
Seven people were arrested in connection with this incident and have since been released under investigation.
On Sunday, at 8.13am, we were then alerted to a report that a 21-year-old student from Northumbria University had taken ill at an address on Melbourne Street, Newcastle. It is suspected he had taken a quantity of MDMA. He was transported to hospital, but died a short time later. A 20-year-old male arrested on suspicion of supplying Class A drugs has since been released on police bail.
Then, at around 1.10pm on Sunday, we received a further call to the same building on Richardson Road, where the first woman had been found. Sadly, another 18-year-old student had died. It is believed ketamine had been present at the address. An 18-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of supplying a controlled drug and has been released on police bail.
Police have also confirmed they carried out a number of consent-based room searches at student accommodation with the Force’s drugs dogs, in collaboration with student wellbeing teams at Newcastle University and further patrols will be carried out today.
Chief Inspector Steve Wykes said: “This weekend we have seen the tragic loss of four young lives and our thoughts continue to be with the family and friends of those who have sadly died.
“Although our investigations are at an early stage and we continue to establish the circumstances around these tragedies, we want to reiterate our warning to people against taking drugs for recreational use.
“The consequences could cost you your life.
“We will continue to work with both universities and will be increasing our patrols in the areas where these tragedies have occurred.”
He added: “We would urge anyone with any information in relation to these tragedies to come forward – even the smallest piece of information could help us.
“If anyone has any information about who has supplied the drugs in question then we would also encourage them to contact us at the earliest opportunity.”
Anyone who has information about the drugs should still contact Northumbria Police on 101, quoting references 181 03/10/20 660 03/10/20 222/227 04/10/20, 483 04/10/20 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Anyone who has taken these drugs and needs emergency medical attention should always call 999.