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Parents in Devon are being warned of a new brand of 'fatal' ecstasy pills shaped like Darth Vader that are being marketed to children.
Police in Exeter say that the pills are being sold to schoolchildren via the Dark Web and that parents should educate their kids regarding the dangers of drug use.
According to authorities, three teenagers and one adult have died in the last month as a result of ecstasy use, and the blue Star Wars-themed tablets specifically were responsible for a 14-year-old suffering from kidney failure after he ingested half of a pill.
Local police in Devon took to Twitter to inform the public, particularly parents, of the new strand of pills.
Exeter Neighbourhood Team are concerned children are using Darth Vader brought on the dark web with fatal consequences. Please ensure you know where your child is and teach them about the risks of drug use. Ps 2631 Storey-Barrett https://t.co/kXz9HPzfCe pic.twitter.com/H26EHixaOh- Exeter Police (@DCPExeter) July 20, 2018
Speaking on behalf of the force, Detective Constable Chris Empson of Devon and Cornwall Police said: "This is not just really experienced cyber criminals, we are looking at teenagers who are looking at this tech for their own gain and this technology removes the physical barriers to crime in the future because they can do it in the comfort of their own bedrooms.
"This is a new threat that we are facing."
Please share! We have had lots of reports of youngsters taking this drug 'darthvader' and falling ill/ unconscious. It is a dangerous mix of MDMA, ketamine and cocaine. There is no safe dosage and you risk your life if you take it. Supt TD. @NDJournal @ndgazette @NorthDevonNews pic.twitter.com/oujvKWArfw
- NWDevonPolice (@NWDevonPolice) July 21, 2018
Police point to three deaths in the South West in recent months that are linked to the pills, which are thought by researchers to contain benzylpiperazine (BZP) instead of the standard MDMA and are thus more dangerous.
A teenager, Hannah Bragg, died after taking a pill while celebrating the end of her GCSEs in Tavistock, Devon, in late June, while Shakira Pellow passed away in Camborne, Cornwall, just last week after taking a pill. Both were just 15 years of age.
Reece Murphy, a 16-year-old, and Mitchell Hole, an adult of 30, both died in Taunton, Somerset on 1 July after taking ecstasy.
Northwest Devon Police also tweeted on the issue, writing: "Please share! We have had lots of reports of youngsters taking this drug 'darthvader' and falling ill/ unconscious. It is a dangerous mix of MDMA, ketamine and cocaine. There is no safe dosage and you risk your life if you take it."
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