One man has died and four others are in a critical condition after taking what is believed to be a form of the drug MDMA over the weekend, police have said.
Greater Manchester Police on Monday issued an urgent warning about the drug, known locally as “pink champagne” or “magic”, saying it was highly potent and had led to several hospital admissions.
On Saturday four men became seriously ill and had to be taken to hospital. Two of them have since been released while the other two remain in intensive care.
A further three people were hospitalised on Sunday. A woman and a man are in a critical condition while another man is in a serious condition.
On Monday afternoon GMP confirmed that one of the hospitalised men, believed to be a 26-year-old from Rochdale, had since died.
The force said signs to watch for include rigid muscles, shallow breathing, a fast racing pulse, hyper-aggression, seizure, foaming at the mouth and unconsciousness.
Chief Superintendent Neil Evans said: “This is incredibly worrying and, with our colleagues from the NHS, we are doing all that we can to warn people against taking the drug and help those who may have taken it.
“So please, if you believe that you or somebody you know has taken the drug and begins showing symptoms, then get yourselves to the hospital immediately.”
Detective Inspector Jim Faulkner of GMP’s Oldham Borough said the increasing number of people affected is causing the force “no end of concern”.
“Please, if you believe that you or somebody you know has taken the drug and begins showing these symptoms then get yourselves to the hospital immediately,” he said.
“We have arrested one man in connection with the supply of the drugs, however our enquiries and operational activity will be continuing.”
The 26-year-old man arrested on suspicion of supplying Class A drugs remains in custody for questioning, GMP said.
Anybody with information that could assist the investigation is urged to contact police on 0161 856 9063 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.