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HSE Issues Urgent Warning After Surge in Overdoses Linked to Counterfeit Tablets

HSE Issues Urgent Warning After Surge in Overdoses Linked to Counterfeit Tablets

The HSE advises that there is EXTRA RISK at this time and strongly recommends people not to take these tablets.The HSE advises that there is EXTRA RISK at this time and strongly recommends people not to take these tablets.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) has issued a warning to drug users following a spate of overdoses across Ireland, particularly in Dublin, Galway, and the Midwest. The overdoses have been linked to counterfeit tablets falsely marketed as benzodiazepines.

The HSE’s National Drug Treatment Centre identified nitazene, a dangerous synthetic opioid, in yellow, round counterfeit benzodiazepine pills through analysis by the Emerging Trends Laboratory. Consequently, the HSE advises against using these tablets due to the increased risk.

Professor Eamon Keenan, HSE National Clinical Lead, Addiction Services, emphasized the severity: “We urge extreme caution following a number of overdoses related to counterfeit benzodiazepine tablets. Preliminary analysis suggests nitazenes, a potent and dangerous synthetic opioid, may be responsible. These pose a substantial risk of overdose, hospitalisation, and death.”

To mitigate risk, the HSE offers the following harm reduction tips:

1. Avoid taking these tablets, new batches of drugs, new types of drugs, or drugs from new sources due to unknown risks.

2. Discuss accessing naloxone, which temporarily reverses the effects of opiates, with your local service or doctor.

3. Seek medical help immediately if you see signs of overdose and stay with the person until help arrives.

The HSE is working with various partners, including hospital emergency departments, emergency services, NGO service providers, An Garda Síochána, and laboratories at the National Drug Treatment Centre and Forensic Science Ireland, to monitor the situation and identify the substance’s precise composition.

For more information on concerning drug trends, visit here

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