A 54-year-old Dublin man has died after taking tablets suspected to be ecstasy at a house party over the weekend.
The man's lifeless body was discovered on a couch at a house in Tallaght on Sunday, in what sources say is just the latest case of a middle-aged person dying after they consumed drugs.
Gardai are noticing an increasing trend of older people dying of suspected overdoses or from complications related to the consumption of drugs.
In the latest incident, gardai have been told that the man took ecstasy when he attended a house party in the Rathmines area of the capital on Saturday night before he went back to a friend's house in the Brookview estate in Tallaght in the early hours of Sunday morning.
It is understood that the man's friend went to bed and when he awoke the next day, he made the grim discovery in his sitting room.
As soon as the 54-year-old man's body was discovered by his pal, his shocked friend immediately contacted the emergency services who rushed to the scene.
"This is a tragic death especially at this time of the year but the fact is that more and more older people are dying after taking drugs including drugs which used to be sold in head shops before they were banned.
"However it is still unusual for a man of that age to be using a drug like ecstasy, which would more commonly be used by people over 30 years younger than he was.
"Gardai will now prepare a file on this sudden death case for the coroner's court," a source explained.
The rate of drug-induced deaths in Ireland is the third highest in Europe and stands at four times the EU rate, according to a report that was published in May.
The report by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drugs Addiction (EMCDD), showed Ireland had a rate of 70.5 deaths per million population in 2011 compared with an EU rate of 17.1 deaths per million.
Ireland recorded the third highest rate after Estonia (190.8 per million) and Norway (75.9 per million).
A total of 2,195 illicit drug-induced deaths were recorded in Ireland in the 14-year period between 1998 and 2011.
The EMCDD report, which covered the 28 EU member states, Turkey and Norway, shows that a quarter of Irish people aged between 15 and 64 had tried cannabis, with six per cent saying they had taken the drug within the year prior to the survey.
A third of young adults (aged 15 to 34) had taken cannabis at some stage, with 10.3pc saying they had done so within the previous year.
Ireland featured third in a list of countries for cocaine prevalence, with 6.8pc of the population having taken the drug at some point in their lives, while the rate of 15- to 64-year-olds who said they had taken cocaine within the past year stood at 1.5pc.
Ireland was second only to the UK for ecstasy use with 6.9pc of 15 to 64-year-olds saying they had tried the drug.
However, just 0.5 per cent said they had done so within the past year.