People attending Electric Picnic this weekend in Stradbally, Co. Laois are being warned about high-strength drugs which are in circulation.
There have been a number of drug-related deaths at festivals in Ireland and the UK this year, and Electric Picnic organisers say they will be taking a zero-tolerance stance on drug use at this weekend's festival, which will involve working with Gardaí and carrying out more searches.
Dr Chris Luke, consultant in emergency medicine and Adjunct Senior Lecturer in Public Health at UCC, is an expert in this area.
He told The Last Word that significant dangers arise from people taking drugs and having no idea what is in them.
The HSE has provided harm reduction advice to people who may decide to take drugs at the festival. This includes:
- Start with a very small dose and see how you react to the drug
- Wait at least two hours before taking any more
- Don't mix drugs
- Stay cool and hydrated
- Don't be afraid to get help
Chris emphasised the importance of having groups of friends who agree to look out for each other, and that medical staff will not judge anyone looking for help.
Anyone concerned about a friend who has taken drugs should call for help immediately, put them in the recovery position, tell paramedics, doctors or nurses what they may have taken and show them any packets, pills or powders because "that knowledge can be life-saving."
Listen to the interview in full by pressing the play button on this page.