TWO women are fighting for their lives after taking "contaminated" cannabis.
The women, both in their 20s – one of whom is understood to be a mother – are in intensive care in hospital today.
Gardai have expressed concern that more drug users could be at risk from the same toxic batch of drugs.
The women, who do not know each other, presented separately to the same hospital in Drogheda. One 25-year-old is said to have "catastrophic" injuries and is suffering from multiple organ failure.
Last night gardai confirmed that two women from Louth are in a life-threatening condition after taking a drug. Both are in the intensive care unit of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital.
The women are understood to have first taken ill on Monday night of this week.
One of the women has not regained consciousness since being brought into hospital and is on life support.
The second woman became seriously ill in the early hours of yesterday morning and "the symptoms are far too serious to have been caused by cannabis on its own," said one source.
Gardai are desperately investigating the source of the cannabis – which may have been mixed with a synthetic drug – to establish if there is a bad batch of drugs currently on the streets of the North East.
Follow-up searches of two houses in Drogheda and mid-Louth resulted in some cannabis being seized which is being tested to identify what it contains. However it is believed that it can be difficult to detect synthetic drugs in these tests.
Last night Superintendent Gerry Smith, at Drogheda Garda Station, said: "We are concerned that other people who use cannabis may suffer the same effects."