HSE alert over drugs linked to three teen deaths in past month
GARDAI fear that three people including a teenage boy have died after taking ecstasy tablets containing the lethal chemical PMMA in the past month alone.
The HSE last night issued a major alert over the pills known as 'Green Rolex' or 'Green Apple' following a spate of hospitalisations and deaths.
The Irish Independent has learned that one of the victims of the killer drugs was just 16 years old.
Toxicology tests have confirmed that the boy from the Waterford area had taken PMMA shortly before he died.
The HSE also claimed that another drug victim this week had taken PMMA – but could not say last night where this incident had taken place.
However, gardai said the only other drug death this week involved Henry Leavy (23), who became ill after being arrested and placed in a garda van on Wednesday afternoon.
Senior gardai called in the Ombudsman Commission to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of Mr Leavy, who was detained for an alleged public order offence.
Toxicology tests on Mr Leavy, from Old Greenfield, Maynooth, showed that he had taken cocaine and amphetamines.
Tests have not yet been completed in two other cases, a man and a woman who were both in their 20s, in Tullamore and Kilcormac, Co Offaly, who both died in the past month.
But gardai believe the tests are likely to show that PMMA was involved.
The deadly chemical is now thought to have been responsible for at least eight deaths in this country since 2012.
It has also been blamed for several deaths in the UK and claimed at least seven lives when it swept the Scottish club scene last summer.
The dangerous pills are green in colour and are stamped with either an apple or a crown, which is the Rolex watch logo.
The HSE issued an alert warning people not to take these substances.
They have also warned people who display "negative side effects" following the use of the drugs to seek help immediately.
This is the second drugs scare in the past fortnight after several University College Dublin students were hospitalised after taking LSD and amphetamines in a mixture nicknamed 'Scuzz'.
Gardai are also trying to establish if the various incidents are in any way linked.
Detectives from Donnybrook station raided a house in Phibsboro on the northside of Dublin yesterday afternoon and arrested a man in his 20s, who is suspected of being a dealer involved in the UCD incidents.
The gardai and the HSE issued further warnings last night on the danger of ingesting the green pills as they became concerned about the prospect of further deaths.
The 16-year-old boy who died in Waterford is alleged to have taken six tablets at the weekend and the tests in his case positively identified the PMMA.
Garda inquiries into his death are continuing with officers trying to find out the identity of the dealer who sold him the tablets.