THOUSANDS of pupils and parents have been issued a “wake up call” after children took super-strength ecstasy and were left needing hospital treatment. 

North Yorkshire County Council's leader said the unusual step of sending a warning to pupils at several schools serving the north-west part of the county had followed several incidents at one school relating to Orange Tesla tablets.

While the authority has declined to give any details about the incidents, is understood a batch of pills containing up to 240mg of the potentially fatal drug MDMA - more than twice the normal strength of ecstasy - are circulating in the area.

Parents at Richmond School & Sixth Form College, St Francis Xavier School in Richmond, Wensleydale School and Sixth Form in Leyburn, Risedale Sports and Community College in Catterick Garrison, Bedale High School and Northallerton-based Hambleton and Richmondshire Pupil Referral Service have been sent a letter outlining concerns.

Dr Lincoln Sargeant, the council's director of public health, said while ecstasy use in North Yorkshire was rare, taking a single tablet could lead to "very serious health complications and can even be fatal".

He added: "Unfortunately, there have been some cases of use by young people in the local area that has resulted in them being hospitalised.

“Parents/carers are asked to be alert to this issue, particularly any mention of Orange Tesla tablets as these are being used in the area currently.”

A letter to the parents said “robust action” would be taken against students found taking or supplying tablets.

The letter added: “If you suspect a child or young person has become ill as a result of consuming ecstasy you should seek immediate medical attention.

“Where schools receive intelligence about drug use and those involved, we will pass that information to the police.

“Our schools all deliver a programme of drugs education in a variety of ways and will continue to do so.”

A further statement by North Yorkshire Police and the county council said: “We prioritise the safeguarding of children wherever they are.

Whenever concerns are raised, we ensure that the county council’s children’s services work closely with schools, the police and the health service to provide appropriate education, advice and support to all children and young people.” 

Council leader Carl Les, who represents the Catterick Bridge ward, said: “I understand there were problems at one school so we decided to distribute the letter as a wake-up call. 

“We should always be very vigilant and it is right to advise parents on these sorts of issues when they arise.

“From my experience these are very rare circumstances, but they have such a high impact. We are right to be cautious.” 

Drug safety groups say the orange pills are prevalent at festivals and raves as the pill glows under a black light, making them easier to find if dropped or lost.

The pills are said to produce feelings of energy, euphoria and distort time and sensory perception.

Several teenagers in the region have died after taking ecstasy in the last decade.

Last year, drug information organisation Drugwise found the highest mortality rate from drug misuse was in the North East with 77.4 deaths per one million population, after finding drug poisoning deaths had surged to a record level.

For more information about the drug, visit and anyone with information about the pills are urged to call police on 101.