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A new “zombie drug” has claimed its first British victim and could be widespread across the UK, experts have warned.

The death of 43-year-old Karl Warburton last May marked the first recorded fatality caused by xylazine, a powerful sedative which has devastated cities across the US.

Used by vets to tranquillise large animals, xylazine lowers the heart and breathing rates to dangerous levels and can cause large patches of rotting flesh when injected, leading to the nickname “zombie drug”.

It is thought that the father of two, who had been referred to addiction services, took heroin which was laced with fentanyl and xylazine.

The factory worker was found in the living room of his home in Solihull, West Midlands

A coroner determined his cause of death as acute aspiration pneumonitis, a lung injury caused by inhaling toxins, and listed xylazine as a contributing factor.

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Tranq: the zombie drug that swept America

The presence of the drug in his system was discovered by “chance” after toxicologists noticed a “strange peak” in the results of his drug screening.

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Now experts have warned that xylazine – known on the street as tranq – could already be widespread in British heroin supplies as drug screenings are not designed to detect it.

It has contributed to an epidemic of drug deaths in the US, with research by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) showing it is prevalent in 7% of overdoses across the country – and as high as 26% in some states.

Read more:
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Xylazine compounds America’s overdose crisis

Dr Caroline Copeland, director of the National Programme on Substance Abuse Deaths, led a study into Mr Warburton’s death at King’s College London.

She said it was “highly likely” that the drug is elsewhere in the UK drug market but is not being detected.

Danielle, a mother of three. Until a couple of years ago, Danielle worked as a certified recovery specialist to support people in rehab. She shows the wounds on her arms.
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The wounds it causes have led to xylazine being called the “zombie drug”.

Dr Copeland warned that regular drug screenings should be updated to look for the drug and that users should be made aware of the additional risks of xylazine.

“If it has appeared in one place, it is highly unlikely that this was the only preparation with (xylazine) available,” she said.

“It probably is elsewhere but isn’t being detected.

“The most immediate thing to be done is to tell heroin users that this is around.”

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Jay Slater: Photographs show Tenerife property where missing British teenager was last seen

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Jay Slater: Photographs show Tenerife property where missing British teenager was last seen

Photographs show the Tenerife property where British teenager Jay Slater is believed to have been last seen before he went missing on Monday.

A Snapchat video shared by the 19-year-old on Sunday night appears to show the property he visited in the northwestern mountain village of Masca after attending the NRG music festival.

Mr Slater, from Oswaldtwistle near Blackburn in Lancashire, was holidaying with friends on the island before he went missing.

The property where Mr Slater is believed to have been last seen
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The property where Jay Slater is believed to have been last seen

His friend Lucy Law told Wednesday’s UK Tonight programme on Sky News that she spoke to Mr Slater on the phone at about 8.15am local time on Monday.

During the short phone call, he told her he had missed a bus trying to get back to his holiday accommodation so was attempting to walk instead – a journey that would take 11 hours.

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Missing British teen’s friend speaks to Sky News

She said he told her he had “cut his leg on a cactus“, didn’t know where he was and his mobile phone battery was down to 1%.

Ms Law also said Mr Slater told her he “needed a drink”.

He was able to send her his last live location which showed as the Rural de Teno Park – a mountainous area popular with hikers – before his phone cut out.

Ms Law said Mr Slater, an apprentice bricklayer, is “not a stupid boy” and would have flagged down any passing car or spoken to a passerby.

Soon after Mr Slater went missing, an American woman offered to drive Ms Law up into the mountains.

There was “literally no sign of him anywhere”, she said. “We drove around all day.”

Ms Law added that they “managed to find the house” where Mr Slater was last seen.

She continued: “I knocked on the door and there were two people there.”

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The property where Jay Slater is believed to have been last seen

They told Ms Law that Mr Slater had gone out for a cigarette before going back in and saying he wanted to go home.

“They told me he’d spoken to the next door neighbours and they’d told him there was a bus every 10 minutes back down to Los Cristianos.

“The bus stop was right next to the house. So obviously if he’d gone to get the bus he wouldn’t have got lost because it [the stop] was visible from the front door.”

Tenerife map for Jay Slater story
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Jay Slater’s phone’s last live location was Rural de Teno Park. The search has also focused on Los Cristianos

The teenager was wearing a T-shirt and shorts and was without food and water, she added.

“It’s very warm in the day and very cold at night,” Ms Law said.

“So in the day he’s going to be really warm without a drink, and then at night he’s going to be very cold without any suitable clothing.”

Read more:
Today is a ‘key day’ in search – local journalist says
Former Coronation Street star prays for his safe return

Jay Slater. Pic: Lucy Law
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Pic: Lucy Law

Pic: Reuters
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A rescue team searches the Masca ravine. Pic: Reuters

Earlier, she told the Manchester Evening News someone Mr Slater had met on the night out had driven him back to their apartment in a hire car without him realising how far away it was.

“He’s ended up out in the middle of nowhere. Jay was obviously thinking he would be able to get home from there,” she told the newspaper.

‘A living nightmare’

Mr Slater’s mother Debbie Duncan, who flew to the island and has joined mountain rescuers and the local civil guard in the search for her son, has called his disappearance “an absolute living nightmare”.

Search teams refocused their efforts on Thursday in the north of Tenerife, where Rural de Teno Park is located, after discounting a potential lead in the south of the island, the BBC reported.

Meanwhile, a Tenerife-based journalist said today is a “key day” in the search for Mr Slater.

Clio O’Flynn told Sky News: “If he’s taken shelter, the hope is he’s waiting for help to come along,”

She added: “The problem will be ‘does he have a phone signal? Will people be able to locate him? Can he hear their cries?'”

Police officers search for a missing  Masca ravine on the island of Tenerife.
Pic: Reuters
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Police officers search the Masca ravine. Pic: Reuters

Ms O’Flynn said the search had been “very intense” with teams using all the resources at their disposal, including “mountain specialists, search dogs, drones and helicopters” and are “taking suggestions from his family, so it’s very coordinated”.

The area where he is believed to have gone missing is a “dry, arid, part of the island”, and, given its volcanic origins, has “ravines and gullies”, Ms O’Flynn said.

She warned there are “no lakes, rivers or streams, so it would be quite hard for him to access fresh water”.

Temperatures have been about 26C (79F), she said, but warned that “if you’re lost, 25C is very hot”.

A UK Foreign Office spokesperson said: “We are supporting the family of a British man who has been reported missing in Spain and are in contact with the local authorities.”

The Spanish Civil Guard told UK media they are “doing everything possible” to find Mr Slater.

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Spurs player Rodrigo Bentancur apologises for racist joke about teammate Son Heung-min

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Spurs player Rodrigo Bentancur apologises for racist joke about teammate Son Heung-min

Tottenham Hotspur captain Son Heung-min has said teammate Rodrigo Bentancur knows he “made a mistake” after making racist joke about him.

Bentancur was asked on Uruguayan TV for a Spurs player’s shirt, to which he replied: “Sonny’s? It could be Sonny’s cousin too, as they all look the same.”

Anti-discrimination charity Kick It Out said it had received a “significant number” of complaints.

The Uruguayan midfielder apologised on social media, describing it as a “very bad joke”, with Son later saying the pair were “brothers” and “nothing has changed at all”.

Tottenham said in a statement: “We fully support that our captain Sonny feels that he can draw a line under the incident and that the team can focus on the new season ahead.

“We are extremely proud of our diverse, global fanbase and playing squads. Discrimination of any kind has no place at our club, within our game or within wider society.”

In the same post, the club quotes Son as saying: “I’ve spoken with Lolo (Bentancur). He made a mistake, he knows this and has apologised.

“Lolo would not mean to ever intentionally say something offensive. We are brothers and nothing has changed at all.

“We’re past this, we’re united, and we will be back together in pre-season to fight for our club as one.”

Bentancur had previously posted: “Sonny brother! I apologise to you for what happened, it was just a very bad joke.”

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Spurs’s Premier League season kicks off at newly promoted Leicester City on 19 August, followed by games against Everton, Newcastle and arch-enemy Arsenal.

Bentancur is currently preparing to represent Uruguay at this summer’s Copa America in the US, which starts on 20 June.

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UK weather: Temperatures set to rise – with some areas forecast to be as hot as Ibiza

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UK weather: Temperatures set to rise - with some areas forecast to be as hot as Ibiza

Warmer weather is on the way with the UK finally set to enjoy a spell of sunshine – as temperatures in some parts are expected to match those in Ibiza.

After a “disappointingly cool” run of weeks – despite sweltering conditions in Europe – the Met Office forecasts “much warmer conditions” over the next fortnight.

While temperatures will likely hover at around 20C (68F) over the weekend, with highs of 24C (75F) in the south, Monday and Tuesday could be as hot as Ibiza in the southeast.

It is forecast to be 25C (77F) on the sunny Spanish island at the start of next week, matching London and surrounding areas, with the Midlands and northwest a degree or two cooler.

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Summarising the outlook from 24 June up to 3 July, the Met Office said it will be “predominantly fine” and much of the UK will be “much warmer” than in recent weeks.

“At first some thicker cloud could bring some outbreaks of mostly light rain, this mainly affecting northwestern areas,” it said.

“However, for most, it will be dry throughout and likely to turn increasingly warm as we move into next week.”

Pic: PA
Image:
The Met Office forecasts it will become ‘much warmer’ than in recent weeks. File pic: PA

There is “a chance this could persist for much of the rest of the period,” the Met Office said, turning “increasingly hot”.

Meteorologists added the country could see a return to temperatures closer to average at the end of next week, when there are a “large range of outcomes”, but “the trend toward much warmer conditions continuing… is preferred”.

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Sky News meteorologist Chris England said it will be quite settled and increasingly warm and humid later this weekend and for the first part of next week at least, and possibly all week, particularly in the South East.

He said it would be warmer until Wednesday next week at least.

There is a 60% chance heatwave thresholds – around 25C (77F) across most of the UK and 28C (82F) in and around London – will be exceeded in places, he said.

The chances of topping 30C (86F) are lower, at 20%, while the odds of extreme heat warnings remain unlikely, at just 5%, he added.

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