A lethal batch of super-strength cocaine is being sold on British streets, according to police in Sussex, where officers have seized packets of the drug that are almost 100 per cent pure.
The force issued a warning came after two deaths were linked to extra-strong cocaine and heroin in Eastbourne.
“Since April there have been a number of drug overdoses in the town, and two drug-related deaths," Detective Inspector Neil Ralph told the Eastbourne Herald:
He added: "Taking drugs in any form is dangerous, particularly when the user does not know the purity of the drug.”
A total of 3,674 people died of drugs poisoning in 2015, the highest number since records began.
Deaths from heroin and morphine have doubled to 1,200 since 2012, while deaths from cocaine have jumped from 112 to 320, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics.
The majority of cocaine sold on Britain's streets has been cut with bulking products such as glucose or a dental anaesthetic called benzocaine.
A report by Vice magazine in 2015 found that cocaine sold in London was only between 25 and 40 per cent pure.
But drugs bought on the streets are becoming purer, with higher-grade cocaine entering the UK through dealers on the dark web, the Global Drug Survey found in 2016.
It said there had been an increase in use of both MDMA and cocaine over the previous three years.
Cocaine was the third most popular drug globally, the study found.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies