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Ecstasy deaths highlight fresh dangers of pills

THESE are the drugs that were available at the concerts at the Phoenix Park, according to user reports.

The tablets that were initially thought to be behind the deaths of two young men in Dublin and were 'everywhere' in the Phoenix Park on the day of the Swedish House Mafia mayhem.

But toxicology reports have since suggested that Shane Brophy and Lee Scanlon died after combining various drugs including ecstasy once again highlighting the dangers of party drugs.

The new drug type available at the concert is a combination of ecstasy, MDMA, mixed with BZP, a recreational drug with euphoric, stimulant properties.

The potentially lethal mixture has an hallucinogenic effect that can cause serious internal damage.

The tablets are pale/aqua blue in colour and it's reported that they are hard to break.

These are photographs show versions of the drugs with inscriptions, but it's known some of the tablets used did not have any logos.

BZP is promoted by drug dealers and users as a 'safe, herbal drug' and they often known as 'pep pills'.

It is believed that the young Irish people who took the drug were unaware that the MDMA was mixed with BZP to enhance the effect of ecstasy.

It is suspected that they contain an adulterated mix of MDMA and Piperazine (BZP) or a MDMA and a toxic substance, and PMA users can experience negative side effects, especially at higher doses.

This compound is just one of many that are touted on the market in Ireland at the moment.

Drug users are more at risk than ever of taking potentially lethal drugs as pure MDMA is less available than before. Dubliners are now exposed to hundreds of different pills for less than €10 a pop.

The mixtures of MDMA and PMA are also known as 'cherry bombs', PMA, 'pink ecstasy' or 'death'.

The synthetic hallucinogen PMA is identical to so-called E tablets, which contain MDMA. PMA is often passed off as ecstasy because it is similar in appearance, cost and effect.



Dangerous

However, the effect is far more dangerous than ecstasy.

With PMA, users have reported a delay in the effects with these tablets, the effects sometimes are not felt for more than two hours.

Long-term side effects of the drugs include mental health problems such as paranoia and depression and heart failure.

Pure PMA is beige, white, yellow, or pink - hence the name 'pink ecstasy'.

Sinead O'Mahony Carey, Drug Education Officer with the HSE said that PMA was around in the 70s and is re-emerging in Ireland.

"The problem is people don't know what they are taking and it will depend on whatever it is mixed with," she said.

clairemurphy@herald.ie