A SECOND man has died following a medical incident in North Devon believed to be linked to substance abuse in the area, Devon and Cornwall Police confirmed today, Sunday, April 28.

At around 5pm on Friday evening, April 26, police and partner agencies became aware of what was locally thought to be an unusual batch of heroin circulating among drug users in Westward Ho!, Bideford and Barnstaple.

That led to a major incident being declared and a number of people being admitted to North Devon District Hospital for treatment.

One man died as a result of taking the substance on Friday.

While the major incident was stood down on Saturday morning, a second man who had earlier been admitted to hospital, died late on Saturday – believed to be as a result of taking the same substance.

A total of 10 people, including the latest deceased, have now been admitted to hospital for treatment. Of those, two people remain in hospital.

Two men and two women arrested on suspicion of being involved in the supply of a controlled substance have now been released on police bail pending further enquiries.

Senior Investigating officer Detective Superintendent Ben Davies said: “While we believe the substance found on Friday has been contained and there is no threat to the wider community, we continue to investigate the circumstances of the now two deaths as a result of taking this substance.

“We are continuing to carry out tests in order to ascertain what the substance is, but suspect it is a form of heroin combined with another substance which users will find causes more serious effects than heroin which they might usually use.

“Health partners are continuing to work with local drug users in a bid to safeguard them as much as possible, but we would continue to urge any users to exercise extreme caution.

“Advice remains that if you feel you are suffering an adverse reaction or are in the company of someone in a need of urgent medical attention, call 999 for appropriate care and help.”