Festival-goers have been warned of a rise in illicit high-strength drugs with psychoactive substances “being mis-sold as MDMA pills or crystal, cocaine and cannabis”.
The warning comes from Prof Eamon Keenan, the HSE’s clinical lead on addiction, as it launched its new drive to promote “harm reduction” among drug users as the festival season is about to get under way.
“Although we have limited access to drug market monitoring in Ireland, we are aware of the emergence of some very worrying trends across Europe,” he said.
“As well as high-strength drugs appearing, as seen recently in the UK, we are currently concerned about the possibility of new psychoactive substances being mis-sold as MDMA pills or crystal, cocaine and cannabis.
“New drugs are continuing to emerge and we must be aware of the risks they pose. Our advice remains that it’s safer not to use at all. However, if you do this summer festival season, it’s important to ‘start very low and go slow’ to reduce your risk of coming to harm.”
The HSE will send festival volunteers to various events to work with organisers and medical teams to help reduce harm and keep people safe.
Nicki Killeen, the HSE’s emerging drug trends project manager, said: “Our new volunteer teams will offer non-judgmental and confidential support.
“They will operate between the festival community and medical teams to create a safe space for people who use drugs. The teams will be at an information tent as well as through outreach teams in campsites and music arenas.
Source: Eilish O Regan, The Irish Independent, 25/05/22