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Wednesday, 30 January, 2002, 13:26 GMT
Brick dust sold as heroin
Opium poppies
Afghanistan is a major producer of opium poppies
Drug dealers in Wolverhampton are selling brick dust as heroin, possibly as a result of the Taleban's collapse in Afghanistan.

The trade came to light after an addict told police he bought the substance from a dealer in the Low Hill area of the city, believing it was heroin.

Subsequent tests revealed the packet contained pure brick dust.

There are fears that the trade could lead to the death of an addict.

Drug squad officers also believe that dealers are being tempted to mix more substances than usual with the heroin, including talcum powder.

Cultivation banned

Afghanistan has become one of the world's largest sources of heroin.

The country's interim government recently banned the cultivation of opium poppies in an attempt to stop drug trafficking.

A spokesman for West Midlands Police's drugs unit said it was believed the collapse of the Taleban regime had disrupted the supply of heroin into Europe.

This had resulted in a change in the price of the drug and an added temptation to "cut" it with other substances.

Pc Lyndon Whitehouse, based at Wednesfield in Wolverhampton, said: "The message we want to get across to drug users is to watch out because if this is injected we could have a fatality on our hands."

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See also:

18 Jan 02 | Asia-Pacific
Eyewitness: Golden Triangle opium fields
26 Nov 01 | South Asia
US concern at Afghan opium surge
16 Jan 02 | South Asia
Afghanistan bans opium production
09 Jan 02 | South Asia
Pakistan makes huge heroin haul
09 Jan 02 | Scotland
MP calls for Afghan heroin buy-up
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