“Bucketloads” of fake Valium tablets costing as little as 20p each are flooding into Dundee from Liverpool – and it is claimed they are being sold openly in the city centre.
Dealers are believed to be buying up the tablets in batches of 5,000 to sell on to users – who are not being told the strength of what they’re taking.
The “fake” tablets are often etizolam and alprazolam – part of the benzodiazepines group of medicines to which Valium belongs.
However, they can be far stronger and take longer to kick in.
A source with knowledge of dealers in Dundee, who declined to be identified, said: “It’s really easy to get hold of them.
“They also take a lot longer to kick in so you don’t think you’re feeling them. By the time you do, you’ve put away 20 or 30 and that can kill.”
In 2015, substances such as etizolam were linked to one in five drug deaths in Dundee.
Dave Barrie, service manager at addiction support service Addaction Dundee, said vans carrying the tablets are coming into the city from Liverpool.
He said: “I was speaking with someone recently who had heard about small buckets containing 5,000 tablets.
“Benzos such as etizolam, while similar to Valium, can be potentially lethal when taken in unknown quantities and mixed with drugs such as heroin. The majority taking these are the most vulnerable people.”