Irish Drugs Incident Sheds Light on Policy Problems

by Alastair Moore

This week the reported on the aftermath of an incident, the details of which are still unfolding, in Cork, Ireland. Six young people were admitted to hospital after ingesting a substance.

Young people who dabble in synthetic drugs sold online were warned yesterday they do so at their peril.

There is “no quality control” of these potentially lethal substances. Public health experts issued the alert after it emerged the dangerous drug, which left six young people hospitalised in Cork earlier this week, is known as the N-Bomb.

Cormac O’Keefe, of the Irish Examiner, gathered the varying reports of what the substance was, citing Garda sources who claimed to have located the source of the supply.

Gardaí and health experts yesterday moved to clarify that the drug was not 2C-B, as was initially thought but a derivative called 25I-NBOMe.

The man was one of six people rushed to hospital early on Tuesday after suffering serious effects at a house party on St Patrick’s Terrace on Green Street.

Sources told the Irish Examiner that gardaí had “arrested the supplier and his supplier, the source of the drug”.

The Irish health services (HSE) published a press release warning the public of these psychoactive substances.

The HSE has updated its warning to members of the public and in particular to young people following the incident in Cork on Tuesday when six young people were admitted to Cork University Hospital following the ingestion of a psychoactive substance. Specifically the warning relates to the 2C family of psychedelic phenethylamine designer drugs.

The warning stressed the lack of quality control related to these substances, and urged users to take care.

Young people are advised that there is no quality control on these drugs. There are problems with purity and contaminants, and there is no way of checking that what is purchased or consumed is the intended substance.

This N-bomb drug was also received for testing by Josie Smith, the National Lead for Substance Misuse (Harm Reduction) and Research Scientist at Public Health Wales, she stated on RTE’s Morning Ireland this morning.

On the podcast below you can listen to her discuss her organisation’s drug testing facilities and what we know about the drug in the Cork incident.

Josie Smith will be one of the key speakers at next week’s Help Not Harm Symposium in Dublin’s Buswells Hotel (28th January) – where international speakers will speak on Irish and international drug policies and ways in which issues surrounding drugs can be dealt with.

Help Not Harm’s director Graham de Barra featured in today’s and outlined why the ‘just say no’ narrative around drugs has failed.

THE TRAGIC CASE in Cork is a reminder of the failures in our approach to drugs in responding ex-post-facto emergencies instead of putting in place proactive measures to identify contaminates and high-purity drugs in the market.

People are posed with health risks when consuming illegal drugs by virtue of them being unregulated and policy should aim to reduce the harm.

The article focused on drug testing, failures of the Irish system and the lack of political engagement with drug issues.

Our elected officials should never be afraid to discuss policies. It will be very clear who the honest politicians are going by who attends the symposium. It will be the brave politicians that engage with difficult topics that are worth voting for in this election.

The lesson we need to take from this is that health services need to take a proactive approach in providing information and safer guidelines to people as part of a drug testing programme.

To find out more about the Help Not Harm Symposium, on January 28th, contact Read the full article by de Barra here.

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