HSE expert warns that proposed drug-testing kits ‘don’t work’

The manager of addiction services in the HSE South claims that widespread use of drug-testing kits would lull young people in to a false sense of security.

Health Minister Leo Varadkar has indicated that he is examining a proposal to allow drug users in clubs have their drugs tested for potentially lethal ingredients. The radical proposal is being looked at as part of a new national drugs strategy from 2017.

Under the plan, which would require a change in the law, drug users could have drugs legally tested for lethal ingredients in nightclub or at a festival. However, David Lane of the HSE South, who is an expert in addiction, says drug kits do not work.

“Just in terms of drug testing kits, my position on those are very clear in that they don’t work. From our point of view, people having these kind of testing kits that they buy online or purchase in other ways, these are not effective in testing what might be consumed.”

The proposals follow the death of 18-year-old Alex Ryan from Millstreet in Co Cork. Emergency services were called to a house party on the southside of Cork City in the early hours of Tuesday last week after six young people were understood to have ingested a psychoactive drug called N-Bomb.

Mr Ryan passed away last Saturday after remaining in a critical condition for four days.

Gardaí investigating his death are preparing a file for the DPP after a man was arrested and later released without charge last week.

The HSE has warned young people to be wary of party pills as there is no quality control on these substances and there can be problems with impurities and contaminants.

  • Anyone with concerns about drug use is asked to contact the confidential HSE Drugs and Alcohol Helpline at Freephone 1800-459459.

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