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Forensic scientists identified 27 new recreational drugs in Ireland last year

Scientists have said some of the new synthetic drugs are 100 times more toxic than regular substances

Image: drugs image via Shutterstock

FORENSIC SCIENTISTS DETECTED 27 new recreational drugs in Ireland last year and have warned that some of the synthetic drugs they identified are 100 times more toxic than other similar drugs.

In its annual report today, Forensic Science Ireland said the main drugs encountered in 2016 were cannabis, cocaine, heroin, benzodiazepines and ecstasy.

The report refers to one serious incident involving a highly toxic drug taken at a house party in January last year.

Gardaí were called to a house in Cork to what was described as “an extremely distressing scene”.

A number of young people had consumed drugs and were heavily intoxicated, partially clothed and dancing on broken glass. One male had collapsed on the ground – this male passed away in Cork University Hospital a number of days later. Initial media reports indicated that the party goers had consumed a designer drug called 2CB. FSI identified the drug as 25I-NBOMe (N-Bomb), a highly toxic hallucinogenic drug.

This drug had rarely been seen in Ireland – six times since 2010 – and was most commonly presented as blotter paper soaked in the drug. It was consumed as a white powder on this occasion, however.

As the partygoers thought they were taking a different drug, the amount of white powder consumed turned out to be highly toxic -they ended up taking a hundred times the normal dose.

FSI said because the drugs are newly synthesised, there is no reference material available to assist in identification and this poses a big challenge for the team.

“The speed with which new highly toxic synthetic drugs and psychoactive substances are being created overseas and made available for sale online is presenting new challenges for our scientists because these drugs are so new and unpredictable,” FSI director Dr Shelia Willis said.

“They are up to 100 times more toxic than regular substances and so are highly dangerous. Our scientists are working closely with our international colleagues to ensure that we can quickly identify these new substances and help the gardaí in their efforts to secure convictions against guilty parties.”

Read: New DNA database helped gardaí solve two murders and hundreds of burglaries>

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