Wednesday 20 September 2017

Drug that can kill in seconds stolen from vet

Poison: a bottle of the lethal barbiturate
Poison: a bottle of the lethal barbiturate
Mark O'Regan

Mark O'Regan

AN URGENT alert has been issued after the theft of a dangerous poison capable of killing a person within 10 seconds.

About 15ml of the lethal barbiturate in a glass bottle was taken in a break-in at the Veterinary Clinic in Celbridge, Co Kildare.

As little as 5ml can kill a person within seconds and there are fears that it could be sold on the black market.

The sedative slows the activity of the brain and nervous system and has been used in 13 US states for executions.

It is a barbiturate which depresses the central nervous system, affects muscle activity and inhibits oxygen consumption in the tissues, causing death.

Also known as 'sleep away', the drug is used by vets to euthanise animals, from horses and cattle to cats and dogs.

"It might be used for cutting drugs, and given that it's quite expensive it might be sold on to other criminals," a source involved in the investigation said.

The burglary has prompted a warning from the Irish Medicines Board on the dangers of the drug.

They warned anyone who may have consumed the product to seek immediate medical help at the poisons unit at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin.

Wicklow vet Alan Rossiter said it was the most dangerous drug to be found in a veterinarian's practice.

"If it's injected, you're dead within seconds," he said. "If you ingest it, make yourself sick as fast as you can. Call an ambulance as fast as you can, but the person will still probably die."

Elaine Donohoe, from the National Poisons Centre in Beaumont Hospital, said: "If injected it would have a very quick onset of action.

"If it is taken orally it would be every bit as toxic and will cause many adverse affects. The person would experience severe drowsiness, a coma could occur, and your breathing rate falls. That could lead to cardiac arrest as well."

The burglary took place between 8.30pm on November 5 and 5pm the following day.

Gardai said the stolen substance was contained in a 100ml bottle and marked with an orange and white label with the word Release written in block capitals.

Irish Independent

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