Crime & Justice

Death of 20 people from adulterated cocaine shocks Argentina

Buenos Aires, Feb 3 (EFE).- The death in Argentina of 20 people after consuming adulterated cocaine from a Buenos Aires province slum drew commotion and calls to strengthen the fight against drug trafficking and addiction, amid the country’s high poverty rate.

Alarms blared Wednesday when doctors detected four patients in the Hurlingham municipal hospital who had died having consumed cocaine. Later deaths were reported in hospitals in the jurisdiction of the San Martín Attorney General’s Office, which took the case and issued a warning to the population of the circulation of cocaine of “high toxicity.”

Patients lost consciousness within minutes of consuming the cocaine and until they arrived at hospital, as various authorities told the media.

According to police sources cited by local media, one of the consumers said he had bought the drugs in the vicinity of the “Puerta 8” slum, where police operations began.

“It is an unprecedented case,” said Francisco Pont Verges, the Buenos Aires Province Prosecutor’s Office’s Criminal Policy Secretary, adding that there is no record of similar events in the province.

According to the latest data from the Buenos Aires province, there were 20 deaths from consuming adulterated cocaine and 30 people were hospitalized, of which 11 are on a respirator, and 35 are under medical observation in hospital guards in 11 locations.

“We have stabilized the situation. It could have been a greater tragedy,” Provincial Government Advisors Head Carlos Bianco said at a press conference.

Buenos Aires health authorities continue with the epidemiological alert issued Wednesday to all hospitals after the fatal and serious cases due to the consumption of the drug.

They also issued an unpublished warning statement so that those who had acquired cocaine in the last 24 hours do not consume it or go to a health center if they ingested it and have symptoms.

The drug authorities seized in the records is found in pink nylon wrappers that contain the substance, Pont Verges said.

Authorities are testing substances found in those wrappers and that was added to the cocaine.

But the provincial authorities estimate it may be a substance containing opioids due to the favorable response of patients to treatment with Naloxone in hospitals. EFE


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