Two dead of feared heroin overdose
Two people are dead and seven others seriously ill amid fears a batch of high purity heroin is in circulation in Cork.
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. It is suspected both died from an overdose after injecting the drug.
The Health Service Executive (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.
A statement by the body said: "The HSE South has alerted medical professionals in the region to be alert for patients presenting as a result of heroin misuse. 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. Gardai believe a cocktail of drugs which formed a brown powder led to their deaths on 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.
Mr Lane added that drug users can cut down on the risk of overdose by avoiding mixing drugs and mixing drugs with alcohol, and recognising that medications prescribed by a doctor may interact with street drugs and cause an overdose.