THE HEALTH SERVICE Executive has issued a warning to drug users in Cork, urging caution over taking a brown powder substance known to contain MDMA and PMMA*.
The caution – directed at both drug users and health professionals – has been given after Gardaí confirmed that the ecstasy product may have been a factor in the recent tragic deaths of two young men in Kinsale.
The HSE advised that the misuse of drugs carries serious health risks particularly when other drugs, including alcohol, are taken in combination.
The bodies of Michael Coleman and Liam Coffey, both 22, were found in a house on Abbey Lane in Kinsale at about 6.30am on Sunday. Four people have since been arrested in connection with the deaths. Three have since been released without charged and files are being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.
The HSE South said it is alerting medical professionals in the region, as well as community and voluntary groups working with drug users. It is also liaising closely with the Gardaí on the matter.
David Lane from the agency’s Addiction Services said there are a number of practical steps that drug users can take to prevent an overdose, such as understanding when tolerance is lower, by not mixing drugs and avoiding unfamiliar supply sources.
He added that if someone gets into difficulties after consuming a substance, it is critically important to get help immediately. Symptoms associated with PMMA and MDMA include high fever, rapid heart rate and agitation.
*Methylamphetamine and Paramethoxymethamphetamine