Friday 23 August 2019

Festival goers warned of high dose batches of ecstasy following deaths in UK

(stock photo)
(stock photo)
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Festival goers have been warned there are high dose batches of ecstasy and MDMA in circulation.

The HSE has issued harm reduction information to people attending festivals following the tragic deaths of young people in the UK.

It said the use of psychoactive drugs in Ireland among the 15-24 year age group is the highest in Europe (22pc lifetime use, Eurobarometer poll 2014).

“Data suggests that the potency of most illicit substances is increasing and that the market for substances is becoming more varied and accessible.

“Serious adverse effects have been reported with MDMA recently including seizures, overheating and mental health problems in particular paranoia and psychosis.”

Dr Eamon Keenan, HSE Clinical Lead for Addiction Services warned: “We are aware that there have been deaths and hospitalisations at festivals in the UK recently associated with the use of illicit drugs. We are also aware that there are high dose batches of ecstasy or MDMA in circulation.

“With this in mind as the festival season begins, we want to make people aware of our harm reduction information around drugs. Harm reduction benefits people who use drugs, their families and the community.

“Think about your health and avoid using drugs if you experience mental or physical health problems. We would encourage people to look after themselves and look out for their friends. Talk to your friends if you decide to use drugs.

“Stay with your friends and do not leave anybody who is intoxicated on their own.  If you are at a festival and you or a friend needs medical help, don’t be afraid to contact the welfare and emergency services. Always make sure when you arrive at a festival that you know where the Medical tent is located.

It is always safer not to use ecstasy/MDMA, but if you do:

1.     Test dose a new batch – begin with a low dose ¼ pill

2.     Wait at least two hours before using anymore

3.     Some pills are cut with other drugs that take effect more slowly

4.     When buying always know your source

5.     Mixing drugs and alcohol can increase the risk of unwanted side effects

6.     Stay with trusted friends

7.     Stay well hydrated by drinking water and remember to eat properly

8.     MDMA can make people sexually aroused - always use a condom

9.     Chewing gum can help jaw cramps

10.  Wait 4 weeks between sessions.

For more information and support go to or you can freephone the HSE Drug Helpline on 1800 459 459.

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