Health chiefs have warned about the dangers of designer drugs after six people were taken to hospital after falling ill at a house party.
Emergency services were called to the home on Cork’s south side in the early hours of Tuesday morning amid reports that a number of people had suffered severe effects from a psychoactive substance.
The Health Service Executive (HSE) said the kind of drugs taken is not known but it is believed a number of people in the house had taken 2-CP.
The substance is believed to be similar to products once sold legally in so-called head shops and creates a mood-altering, stimulant and in some cases aphrodisiac effect.
It is understood that two people have recently been released and four are still receiving treatment. An 18-year-old man is said to be in a critical condition at Cork University Hospital.
In a statement from the HSE said: “It is generally reported that these drugs can have serious side-effects both from a psychological and physical viewpoint. Such side-effects include paranoia, hallucinations (both auditory and visual), gastrointestinal effects and kidney problems.”
The drugs and similar synthetic substances come in tablet, powder and liquid form.
The HSE said there is no quality control.
“There are problems with purity and contaminants, and there is no way of checking that what is purchased or consumed is the intended substance,” it said.
“Given the serious side-effects experienced by the young people in Cork, the HSE Addiction Services are issuing a warning about possible contaminated ’party pills’ and advise people to not consume any unknown substances that they are offered at this time.”
2-CP is a psychedelic substance regarded as one of the most potent of its kind.
Users describe how it takes a relatively long time to take effect – several hours – followed by an intense peak that persists and can last anywhere from 10 hours to a day, with the effect similar to hallucinogenics and pure ecstasy.