SIX men from a student house on Tyneside have been hospitalised with one left in a critical condition after taking a little-known illegal drug bought over the internet.
Police were called to a house in Ripon Gardens, in Jesmond, Newcastle, at 3am yesterday, They discovered six men suffering from suspected drug overdoses of the illegal hallucinogenic 2CB.
The men, some students and aged between 19 and 22, were taken to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary where one was last night in a critical condition. The other five were not believed to be in a serious condition.
Two men aged 23 have been arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of a controlled drug and have been bailed pending further inquiries.
Police last night issued a warning about 2CB, known on the street as Rusko, Spectrum, Venus, B’s, CB’s, or Toonies. The six had taken the drug in a purple capsule form.
2CB, which is an hallucinogen and is related to ecstasy, usually comes in purple capsules but can also be sold as a white powder or pills. It is a Class A illegal drug and can be dangerous when mixed with other substances, such as alcohol.
It is not widely available in the UK but is has been reported in a number of European countries and online.
Negative side effects include headaches, sickness, psychotic syndromes and delirium. It has similar effects to LSD and can induce panic attacks.
Chief Supt Gary Calvert, of Newcastle Area Command, said: “We were called to the address early this morning and six people have been taken to hospital. One is in a critical condition.
“We are carrying out extensive inquiries and are working with our partner agencies to find out what has happened and warn others of the dangers.
“Taking any illegal drug is dangerous and potentially life-threatening. 2CB is an illegal hallucinogenic drug. If anyone has any of these in their possession we urge them not to take them and hand them in to the police.
“Anyone who may have taken the drug and feels unwell should seek medical attention immediately.
“Medical professionals in the area have been alerted and if anyone has any information regarding this they should contact police as soon as possible.”
One neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: “We do have problems with noise from that house sometimes. Usually it’s loud music and voices going on until 4am in the morning.
“I had no idea drugs were being taken there. There are about four or five young lads who live there, I think one is a DJ. They’ve been there about a year or so.
“We heard noises last night but we thought it was just them having people over as normal. It sounded like people running around. I hope they’re OK.”
Another neighbour, a student, said: “I did hear some noise at about 2am but there’s a main road nearby, so you’re used to hearing sirens.
“I’ve never really spoken to the lads who live there. They are the kind of people that like to have parties.”
Neighbour Henrietta Pissarro, 19, an architect student, said: “I heard an awful lot of noise in the early hours. I had no idea what was going on. I’ve never heard of 2CB.”
There were eight people at the house in Ripon Gardens, at the time, with six hospitalised at the Royal Victoria Infirmary. It is understood some of the young men were students at Newcastle University.
A police spokeswoman said: “The exact reason for hospitalisation is unclear at present and could be due to a suspected overdose or mixing the drug with another substance, or a bad reaction.”
There is a maximum sentence of seven years imprisonment for possession of 2CB and up to life in prison for supply.
Anyone who thinks they’ve taken 2CB and needs help should call 999.
A Newcastle University spokesman said: “Six people were taken to hospital in Newcastle yesterday some of them believed to be students. Police believe they have taken a dangerous hallucinogenic drug called 2CB, which is thought to have been bought over the internet.”
Anyone who may have taken the drug and feels unwell should seek medical attention immediately