Drug users warned over mixed powder after deaths
THE HEALTH Service Executive yesterday issued a warning over using an ecstasy-based powder that gardaí believe is linked to the deaths of two young men in Kinsale, Co Cork, over the weekend.
HSE South issued the warning yesterday afternoon, urging drug users in the Cork area to be careful of a brown powder known to contain ecstasy or Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) and paramethoxymethylamphetamine (PMMA).
According to the HSE, gardaí have confirmed a product containing both MDMA and PMMA may have been a factor in the deaths of friends Michael Coleman (22) and Liam Coffey (22) at Mr Coleman’s rented house at Abbey Lane, Kinsale.
HSE South is alerting medical professionals and community and voluntary groups working with drug users to the dangers of this mixture of synthetic drugs whose symptoms include high fever, rapid heart rate and agitation.
According to Garda sources, the mixture of MDMA and PMMA can be snorted, ingested through being placed on the tongue or injected, and because it tends to be of a higher purity than MDMA in tablet form it can have a more potent and instant effect.
“MDMA of itself can be deadly, and from what we know of PMMA, it too can be deadly – but mixing the two together increases even further the risk for someone, so we would urge people who do take drugs to be very, very careful or better still, simply abstain,” said one Garda source.
Gardaí investigating the deaths of Mr Coleman and Mr Coffey seized a small quantity of the mixed brown powder when they raided a house on Roman Street, Cork city, on Sunday night. It has been sent to the State laboratory for analysis.
Gardaí arrested two men aged 24 and 25 in the same house on suspicion of supplying drugs to the two dead men. They later arrested a woman aged 21 for a similar offence, but all three have since been released without charge.
Gardaí examined the phone records of the two deceased, along with a number of other phone records, and yesterday arrested a fourth person – a man aged 29 – in Togher, Cork city, and brought him to Bandon Garda station.
The man was arrested on suspicion of having supplied drugs and can be detained for up to 24 hours. Last night he was still being questioned by detectives in Bandon.
The funeral of Mr Coleman, from Ballinclamper, Dungarvan, Co Waterford, takes place this morning at St Augustine’s in Dungarvan. No funeral arrangements have yet been finalised for Mr Coffey, from Affane, Cappoquin, Co Waterford.
Waterford gardaí have ruled out any link between the Kinsale deaths and the death of a 30-year-old man whose body was found in a house on the outskirts of Waterford city and who may have died of a drug overdose.
David Wilkinson, from Tramore but living at Bishopsfield, Williamstown, is understood to have been a heroin user. Gardaí are awaiting the results of tests after a postmortem to establish whether he died of a drug overdose.