Toxic ecstasy pills kill seven in North
THE same high-strength ecstasy which caused the deaths of two young men at a Phoenix Park music festival last year is also believed to be behind the deaths of seven young people in Northern Ireland.
The PSNI and health authorities in Northern Ireland issued warnings to people not to take tablets sold as ecstasy that are green or have the logo of a crown or castle on them. A single mother, 29, died after taking one of the tablets at a disco in Portrush, Co Antrim, last weekend.
Deaths from the drug have taken place across northern England this year and the PSNI believes that former loyalist paramilitaries involved in the drugs trade brought the tablets into Northern Ireland.
Gardai are concerned that the "PMA" tablets may make their way to the Republic as the summer music festival season begins. PMA is a high-strength form of ecstasy that causes heart attacks when mixed with other drugs or alcohol. The drug was linked to the deaths of Shane Brophy, 21, from Crettyard, Co Laois and Lee Scanlon, 20, from Clonsilla, Dublin, who died at the time of the Swedish House Mafia concert in the Phoenix Park last July.
The same type of ecstasy was blamed last month for the death of 16-year-old Ellie Jones, in Warrington. Deaths from the drug have been reported across Lancashire and Yorkshire this year.
Six people in their 20s and 30s died in Belfast before last weekend's death in Portrush.
The North's chief medical officer, Dr Michael McBride, said that those who took the pills may have believed they were taking ecstasy.