Cough syrup kills and it has allegedly caused the deaths of 33 people in eastern Pakistan over the course of three days this week. An investigation is being held by local authorities to determine the exact cause of the fatalities.
An additional 54 people are currently being treated at local hospitals in and around the city of Gujranwala, each suspected of consuming a cough syrup.
Abdul Jabbar Shaheen, a Pakistan government administrative official, speculated that the individuals involved are drug addicts swallowing the substance in an attempt to get high, reports the Belfast Telegraph.
According to Shaheen, a synthetic morphine derivative called dextromethorphan was found in chemical samples taken from the victim’s stomachs.
Dextromethorphan is an ingredient used in cough syrup formulas. When taken in significant amounts – higher than the recommended dosage – cough syrup users have been known to experience mind-altering effects.
The matter is still under investigation by authorities in Gujranwala. Central to the case is determining if the reported cases were caused from consuming too much cough syrup or if the problem lies with a defect in the medicine.
An article by The Associated Press writes the cough syrup allegedly responsible for this week’s deaths was not sold under one specific brand name. Officials say there have been cases of Gujranwala residents who make a business of manufacturing cough syrup with the intent of selling to drug users.
A similar tragic cough syrup incident occurred in the nearby city of Lahore in November of this year. Following their consumption of Tyno brand cough syrup, 23 individuals became fatally ill. Officials at the time described the victims as drug addicts taking the syrup for its drug-like effects.
Pakistan authorities continue to investigate what officially caused the cough syrup to kill 33 people in Gujranwala.