It might be too much to expect habitual heroin users to take much notice of a health warning from the Health Service Executive, considering that their addiction is life-threatening in any event.
Yet it is the duty of anyone — friend, family or helth care worker — to alert addicts to the heightened dangers of a substance known as designer fentanyl or synthetic heroin, which can be up to 600 times more potent than morphine.
The drug, which was implicated in the deaths of pop icons Prince and Michael Jackson, has arrived in Ireland and has caused the deaths of five people in Dublin and Cork since April.
The effects of fentanyl may be indistinguishable from heroin, meaning heroin users are most at risk of unwittingly consuming the substance.
It is also mostly sold in powder form to make it look like heroin but, unlike that drug, even the smallest amount can result in overdose and death.
It is so toxic that a mere 2mg is enough to kill.
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