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Dublin: 15 °C Tuesday 27 September, 2016
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Man (20s) arrested after ‘designer drug’ puts six people in hospital in Cork

The man is being held at Bridewell Garda Station in Cork.

2CB can be sold in tablet powder or liquid form.
2CB can be sold in tablet powder or liquid form.

Updated 7:36 pm

A MAN IS being held in Garda custody tonight in relation to an incident where six young people were hospitalised after taking the psychoactive substance 2C-B.

Four people were arrested yesterday in relation to the incident. Three of them were released today without charge.

One man in his 20s is still being held by gardaí at Bridewell Garda Station in Cork.

There is no indication yet if he has been charged.

Disturbing scenes

Earlier today, a Cork man described walking in on the blood-covered scene where four young people had taken the psychoactive substance.

The six young people were hospitalised after a house party on the south of the city.

Speaking this morning, Gerard Banks told Neil Prendeville Show on Cork’s Red FM that “it’s hard to describe the levels of blood” in the house when he entered.

He told the show that himself and his friend were walking by the house on Pouladuff Road at about 3am yesterday morning when they heard “crazy noises” and “not your average shouting” coming from the house.

“We looked in the window to see what was going on and it was crazy. The bedroom was covered in blood. Curtains, floor, inside it was everywhere,” he said, adding that they then shouted inside.

A guy came to the window and you could see he was out of his head and on drugs, but he wasn’t as bad as the rest of them. When he opened the front door that’s when the reality hit home, when we went in it was very much like a scene from CSI. The whole place was covered in blood and all we could hear was shouting and screaming.

Inside, he described seeing a man and a woman both naked and covered in blood. He said that the male appeared to have a head injury and was badly cut. The woman was dancing on the couch and, although she was covered in blood, Banks couldn’t determine whether it was her blood or someone else’s.

On the floor, he saw another young man who appeared to be in cardiac arrest.

They didn’t know what they were doing, they were completely out of it, they didn’t know they were covered in blood. They didn’t know they were hurt, they didn’t know there was a guy on the ground who looked like he was in cardiac arrest. The whole house was smashed up. There was blood everywhere, unless you were actually in there it’s hard to describe the levels of blood.

Banks told the show that he attempted to calm the others in the room and stop them from hurting themselves further as his friend helped the man on the ground.

“I started trying to calm everyone down, to keep my friend safe, but also to try stop them hurting themselves.”

“There was a bike on the ground and he was cutting himself and he didn’t even realise it.”

“These weren’t bad people, it was like as if the drug had taken over and they had no idea what was going on.”

Banks said that a neighbour had called the gardaí who arrived with a large group of paramedics:

When I opened the door to the gardaí, they first of all saw me and then they saw the levels of blood and the guy behind me naked, covered in blood. You could even see that they were in shock themselves. There was a lot of paramedics as well and, in fairness to the gardaí and paramedics, it was so surreal everyone was in such a state of shock anyway.

Warning

A HSE statement yesterday evening confirmed that the drug in question was 2CB.

The HSE says the drug is “one of the new psychoactive substances similar to those products previously sold in ‘headshops’”.

That stimulant in question can have similar effects to ecstasy or MDMA at low dosages but at higher dosages can have psychedelic or hallucinogenic effects. The drugs can be administered in either tablet, powder or liquid form.

The HSE is warning young people that there is “no quality control on these drugs”.

There are problems with purity and contaminants, and there is no way of checking that what is purchased or consumed is the intended substance.

“Given the serious side-effects experienced by the young people in Cork, the HSE Addiction services are issuing a warning about possible contaminated ‘party pills’ and advise people not to consume any unknown substances that they are offered at this time.”

Loophole

Following the HSE’s comparison between 2CB and psychoactive substances formerly sold in headshops, Minister for Drugs Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said this afternoon that the law is “always playing catch up” with new drugs that are being synthesised.

Speaking on Lunchtime with Jonathan Healy on Newstalk, the minister said that although drugs like 2CB are “not strictly legal” they are not on a list of banned or controlled substances.

“There’s kind of legal loophole in terms of the legality of these substances,” he said.

“We are always playing catch up, you will be aware of the High Court case that happened last March and we had to rush emergency legislation to ensure that we plugged that particular gap.

We have to get to a situation where people understand exactly what substance they are taking. The whole ‘just say no’ mantra has been dispelled a long-time ago we know young people are going to experiment it’s what they do, many people don’t. But these are the tragic consequences of  experimenting with substances which they don’t know what it’s involved.

Originally published 7.37pm

Read: Four young people in hospital after taking psychoactive drug at Cork house party >

Read: Gardaí have seized €400k worth of heroin >

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