Police are investigating the deaths of at least eight people in an alleged fentanyl-related death in Melbourne’s west, the state’s top coronial prosecutor has said.
Key points:More than 100 people have been charged over the deathsKey pointsFentanyl is the most commonly used opioid in AustraliaPolice are now investigating the drug’s links to Melbourne’s West End areaPolice are warning anyone who has been exposed to fentanyl may be at risk of contracting the diseaseMore than 10 people were arrested in Melbourne on Monday as they allegedly tried to transport fentanyl to the West End of Melbourne.
Police said the overdoses took place at the Victoria International Airport, a Melbourne police station, a petrol station and at an apartment complex in the West Side.
All of the victims were believed to have been exposed via a drug deal.
“At this stage we are investigating this as a drug overdose and not as an act of violence,” Victorian Police Detective Inspector Tim McLean said.
“Fentanyl has become the most frequently used drug in Australia, and the Victorian Police are committed to helping people to stop using it.”
The vast majority of people who use this drug have not been diagnosed with FNV, so it’s important that we continue to focus our efforts on stopping people from using this drug.
“Victoria Police said it had arrested nine people in connection with the deaths, including three men who were all aged in their 40s.
Police have also launched a nationwide investigation into the drug and are warning people to avoid the area.”
This investigation is ongoing, but so far it is not believed there is any connection to FNV,” Detective Inspector McLean told reporters.”
We are working closely with the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Border Force to identify those who may have been involved in the alleged drugs.
He said police were notifying the families of the deceased and urged anyone who may be exposed to the drug to contact police.””
We can confirm that the investigation is not focussed on FNV but we are continuing to investigate the circumstances of these deaths,” Detective Superintendent Scott Fyfe said.
He said police were notifying the families of the deceased and urged anyone who may be exposed to the drug to contact police.
“It is important that people do not use drugs and that they don’t get in touch with anyone who is potentially at risk, particularly if they have been in contact with anyone in the Melbourne area who has travelled to or lived in the area,” Detective Commissioner James Gannon said.
Police are also working with the Victorian Coroner’s Office and the coroner to determine the cause of the deaths.
The West End is one of Melbourne’s most heavily populated neighbourhoods.
The area is one stopover for hundreds of thousands of tourists each year, but police are concerned the fentanyl-laced drugs are becoming more common.
“I think it’s an area that’s growing increasingly unsafe, and I think it is something that is getting increasingly difficult to deal with,” Detective Detective Inspector Fyffe said.
Mr McLean also urged the community to stop injecting fentanyl.
“Drug users, particularly those who have used it for a long time, are often exposed to a higher level of fentanyl, so people should be very careful,” he said.
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