'Super-strength' MDMA ecstasy tablets seized by police amid public health fears
Police recover hundreds of new UPS ecstasy party tablets in three raids in Londonderry and Portrush
New 'super-strength' ecstasy tablets are circulating in Northern Ireland, police have confirmed after three seizures in the north west.
A quantity of 1,200 tablets were recovered by police in one of two seizures in Londonderry.
Police also seized another quantity of MDMA tablets in Portstewart in recent days and three people have been arrested.
The new yellow tablets are reputed to be ten times stronger than ecstasy tablets found in circulation in the UK five years ago.
Concern has heightened after six clubbers were hospitalised in Middlesborough after taking these yellow tablets marked with the 'UPS' logo.
The tablets have also found to be circulating in Glasgow.
The UPS pills can contain up to 275mg of MDMA, compared to other available tablets which contain around 35 mg.
Research on this new version of party drug has shown it to be "neurotoxic and increases the likelihood of irreparable brain damage," according to the Glasgow Evening Times.
The main three risks from using MDMA are heatstroke, water intoxication caused by drinking too much fluid, and heart failure, said the Public Health Agency today.
Owen O'Neill, the PHA's lead on drugs and alcohol, has advised the general public not to take any risks with their health.
"While recent stimulant-related deaths in Northern Ireland have involved pills sold as MDMA which have in fact contained other, more toxic drugs, it is important to remember that pills containing only MDMA can also prove deadly," he said.
Detective Inspector Andy Dunlop from PSNI Organised Crime Branch said: “A number of alerts have been circulated to particular interest groups but we believe it is now appropriate to advise the general public about this risk.
“MDMA is a dangerous and potentially life-threatening drug and there have been well documented fatalities caused by people taking this substance."
The PHA are urging people not to take the drug, but if you decide to take a risk and use it, it is advising:
•Take a small amount at first and assess how it affects you – if you are going to take more, wait until you are sure the effects have peaked. Remember, it may not be MDMA, but something slower acting and more toxic;
•Don’t take repeat doses in the belief that the pills aren’t working;
•Don’t get overheated;
•Keep hydrated with sips of water – no more than a pint an hour;
•Don’t mix with other drugs, especially alcohol, and get help immediately if you start to feel unwell.
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