The three men ages 23, 26 and 34, were thought to have consumed the cannabinoid known as Spice.
A spokesperson from Cleveland Police told The Chronicle: “Early indications suggest that they could have become ill due to the use of the drug Spice, although this is not confirmed. Due to the number of people in hospital, it is likely that there is a particularly strong or ‘bad batch’ in circulation, however, the circumstances are being looked into.”
However, Northumbria Police has not linked the deaths to the 11 hospitalizations. It is believed that the hospitalisations were more likely caused by “illicit tablets”.
Spice is a Class B drug, and was made illegal by the UK in 2017.
A spokesperson from Newcastle City Council told The Chronicle: "We are aware of the situation in Cleveland and are liaising with public health colleagues down there to establish if there is a connection or not.”
The City Council added: “Although we are not aware of the type or ‘brand’, it is likely that there is a particularly dangerous or toxic batch in circulation. No drugs are safe and we advise people not to use substances and not to use Spice.”
11 arrests were made as part of the investigation into the supply of drugs in the city. Since then, eight men, a 14-year-old boy and a 25-year-old woman have been released without charge.
A 27-year-old man, however, has been arrested and charged on suspicion of manslaughter for the alleged supply of drugs to two of the men who died.
The spokesperson for Newcastle City Council also issued a reminder that there is help available for those affected by drugs or alcohol.
The NUSU Welfare and Equality Officer was contacted for comment but has not provided one.