Two people have died in the past 24 hours after a suspected bad batch of heroin circulating in Cork. There are currently seven people in hospital who are critically ill and the condition of two of these seven is thought to be of a particular concern.
Ambulances were called to nine incidents over the past 24 hours and although doctors in Cork University Hospital are awaiting toxicology reports, they have urged the public to issue an urgent warning immediately should anyone else be affected by this.
There is a possibility that the drugs involved were tainted or they were of a very high purity. No details have been released of the two people who have dieD. Gardaí are currently investigating the origin of the heroin.
The Health Service Executive (HSE) has alerted medical professionals in Cork to be alert for patients presenting as a result of heroin misuse.
"There are practical steps that drug users can take to prevent overdose," said David Lane of the HSE South Addiction Services.
"Understand your tolerance and be aware of when it might be lower, avoid mixing drugs with alcohol, recognise that prescription medications may interact with street drugs and cause overdose and that injecting drugs is always a risk but can be even more so with an unfamiliar source."
The HSE also urged people to be aware if someone gets into difficulty after consuming a substance, it is critically important to get help immediately by calling the emergency services.