HSE warns of strong batch of heroin as two die in Cork
on 05/10/2012 18:12:09
Health chiefs are warning drug users and medics to be on high alert after several patients were admitted to hospital in the city in the last 24 hours.
Two are said to be in a critical condition.
Elsewhere a 30-year-old man was found in an apartment in the Blackrock area of the city, and the body of a 26-year-old was discovered in a property on Old Youghal Road today.
It is suspected both died from an overdose after injecting the drug.
The HSE said while investigations are continuing into all the cases, it is believed they are as a result of a strong batch of heroin which may be in circulation.
"The HSE South has alerted medical professionals in the region to be alert for patients presenting as a result of heroin misuse," it said.
"Community and voluntary groups working with drug users have also been alerted and gardai are aware of the matter.
"Health professionals are reminded to be vigilant and the public are advised that taking drugs carries serious health risks."
The warning comes a month after two young friends, Michael Coleman and Liam Coffey, were found dead in a house in Kinsale in Co Cork.
Gardaí believe a cocktail of drugs which formed a brown powder led to their deaths on Sunday, September 9.
Revellers were urged not to take the drug, which contained methylamphetamine (MDMA Ecstasy) and paramethoxymethamphetamine (PMMA).
David Lane, of HSE south addiction services, said it is important that anyone displaying negative side effects following the use of drugs seek medical help immediately.
"There are practical steps that drug users can take to prevent overdose," he added.
They include understanding your tolerance, avoiding mixing drugs and mixing drugs with alcohol, and recognise that medications prescribed by a doctor may interact with street drugs and cause an overdose.
"Injecting drugs is always a risk but can be even more so with an unfamiliar supply source," added Mr Lane.
"If someone gets into difficulty after consuming a substance it is critically important to get help immediately by calling the emergency services."
In July, a health board in Scotland issued a warning to heroin users after a patient was confirmed as having contracted the deadly anthrax bacteria.
NHS Lanarkshire said an injecting drug user is being treated for the disease at one of its hospitals and believed a contaminated batch of heroin could have been in circulation.