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HSE urged to provide information on legal highs

  1. Terrapinzflyer
    HSE urged to provide information on legal highs

    The HSE must rapidly provide clinicians with information on the clinical presentation of patients who have taken so-called legal highs, according to a consultant psychiatrist specialising in treating substance abuse patients.

    Dr Seán Ó Domhnaill, consultant psychiatrist with Cuan Mhuire Drug and Alcohol Treatment Services, said he has been inundated with requests from medical professionals from all over the country to give talks on the head shop products due to a lack of validated medical information on the area.

    “There is an immediate need for information on the clinical presentation of patients who have taken mephedrone and other drugs sold in head shops. The HSE would be advised to immediately compose a leaflet outlining the symptoms and signs of both intoxication from mephedrone and other drugs that are currently popular,” he told IMN.

    Dr Ó Domhnaill said his unit alone was dealing with an average of one case a day involving the use of mephedrone, with heavy drug users having gone from oral or nasal use of mephedrone and other such drugs to directly injecting them intravenously and other people are also using opiates in conjunction with them.

    “Patients are presenting in a highly agitated and volatile state. There is a very high risk of suicide and they are very aggressive, so they are not just posing a risk to themselves but also to people trying to help them,” he commented.

    Dr Ó Domhnaill, who has written three papers in relation to mephedrone in the past couple of years, has talks scheduled with GP groups around the country every week from now until mid-May about the medical effects of head shop products.

    “Everybody is going to see it [mephedrone] in psychiatry in future because it’s a drug of choice and head shops are springing up everywhere, because people know even if they open for just two to three months before the ban comes in, they will make a killing,” he commented.

    Written by Lloyd Mudiwa
    Tuesday, 13 April 2010



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