Cough Syrup Suspected In 33 Deaths

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    Pakistani authorities are investigating allegations that cough syrup has killed 33 people over the past three days, a government official said Saturday, the second time in recent months medicine is suspected of causing multiple deaths.

    Also Saturday, an explosion ripped through a passenger bus while it was at a terminal in the southern city of Karachi, killing six people and wounding 52 others, police and hospital officials said. It’s unclear if the blast was caused by a bomb or a gas canister exploding.

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    The deaths from the cough syrup occurred in the eastern city of Gujranwala and nearby villages, said local official Abdul Jabbar Shaheen. Another 54 people thought to have consumed the syrup are also being treated at city hospitals. Officials believe the victims drank the syrup to get high, he added.

    Tests show the victims’ stomachs contained dextromethorphan, a synthetic morphine derivative used in cough syrup that can have mind-altering effects if consumed in large quantities, said Shaheen. Investigators are trying to determine if the victims drank too much syrup, or whether there was a problem with the medicine itself, he said.

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