GUJRANWALA – The death toll of junkies died from overdose of DextroMethorphan syrupreached 35, prompting swoop on medical stores after the Punjab chief minister took notice of the issue.

Eight more people died in Gujranwala Friday due to the syrup, taking the toll in the city to 28in three days while three people in Kamoki and two each in Toba Tek Singh and Lahore were reported dead.

Taking actions on the deaths, the authorities raided various stores to confiscate the stocks of the syrup.

Gujranwala District Health Officer Dr Rana Akram told TheNation that the DextroMethorphinesyrup claimed the lives but nothing could be said until the laboratory test report comes.  He said the syrup had been removed from the market. Hospital sources said that most victims were young drug addicts.

The arrival of new cases has highlighted the availability of the syrup in the province without prescription despite the deaths in Lahore from its consumption last month.

Talking to TheNation, Gujranwala ADC Salah Syed said that 11 teams had been formed to seize the killer medicine and take into account the distributors and retailers who were selling the syrup to addicts.

He said that several areas were raided while 7,700 bottles of the killer syrup were confiscated from a store located on Gill Road, adding that the owner Haseeb Khalid was and the godown was sealed.

A case has been registered at Civil Lines police station, he said.

The distributor defended himself, saying that he was a registered distributor of the product and had nothing to do with the killings. He said that the real culprits were the manufacturer who should be arrested.

In Toba Tek Singh, two men died after taking the same syrup. The deceased, Abdul Rashid and a young boy Ali Nawaz, were drug addicts and were taken to DHQ hospital in critical condition. Their relatives told the doctors that they had taken a bottle each of a cough syrup. In Kamoki, three youngsters,Ali Hassan, Abdul Qayumand Mehmood Ali were reported dead.

Two other men, Iftikhar Shah and Imran were brought to a hospital in critical condition after drinking DextroMethorphine.

Two men, Ijaz and Bilal, lost their lives in Lahore after swallowing the killer syrup.

A drug inspector said that a medical store, selling the syrup, had been sealed and its owner was arrested.

He said that another store was sealed and the stock of the syrup seized in Tipu Bazar, adding that more measures would be taken to prevent the sale of the killer syrup.

Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif took notice of the lives claimed by the overdose of the cough syrup and dispatched his assistant on health Khawaja Salman Rafiq to Gujranwala to oversee the situation and submit immediate report on it.

Earlier in November, 19 people had lost their lives due to an overdose of the 'spurious' cough syrup.

Inquiries into last month's syrup deaths had 'come to a grinding halt' as the mafia responsible for these deaths had destroyed the 'spurious' cough syrup distributed under batch number 5552.