Health officials fear for the lives of drug addicts who are indulging in the bizarre and deadly new craze of injecting themselves with shampoo.

Health officials fear for the lives of drug addicts who are indulging in the bizarre and deadly new craze of injecting themselves with shampoo.

The craze, reported in Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, is for a specific brand of shampoo - Pantene - and appears to be fed by an urban myth that the product has hallucinogenic properties. Shopkeepers in the city yesterday reported high instances of theft of the brand, while community health advisers warnedthat nothing in the product would produce hallucinations and those who injected it risked death.

Dr David Tregoning, Sunderland's consultant in public health medicine, said:"I can think of few things more dangerous than injecting shampoo into the blood. It is a tremendously toxic substance and we are urging anyone who is tempted to do this not to."

One retailer said: "This particular make of shampoo started to disappear from the shelves late last year. We couldn't work out why at first, then one of the thieves told us what he was stealing it for."

Proctor and Gamble, which produces Pantene, said: "There is nothing in Pantene that could cause any sort of hallucinogenic effect. Injecting shampoo into your veins is an extremely dangerous thing to do and we can only urge people not to."

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