Warning issued over 'blues' drug
The drugs are knicknamed "blues" because of their colour
Community workers have issued a warning about a new drug which they say is freely available on Belfast streets.
At least six people have been hospitalised after taking the pills, called "blues" because of their colour.
The pills contain large concentrations of the tranquiliser, diazepam, which can leave people unconscious.
They are being sold alongside ecstasy, cannabis and cocaine for as little as 50p. A drugs community project in west Belfast said they had flooded the area.
Sean Devine of the Falls Community Council said: "The first box of tablets that we came across was actually handed into us by the Safer Neighbourhood Project who found them lying in the area.
"We had several reports from young people, from different parents and other members of the community that there was a certain amount of blue tablets that had been circulated within our community."
Some of the tablets recovered have been handed to a local chemist.
Laboratory results show that they contain diazepam, which is a tranquiliser, but the doseage is far greater than that contained in prescription drugs.
This means that they can leave people unconscious and vulnerable.
Pharmacist Terry Maguire said the drugs were dangerous.
"The reason why we identified them in the first place was because someone was hospitalised having taken them," he said.
"We couldn't identify what the pills were through the normal sources therefore we had to go and get them specially tested.
"Having done that, we identified that there is a very potent drug in them which is causing severe mental and physical depression.
"As a result of that, people who use them run the risk of damaging themselves and potentially damaging others."
Health officials said they had heard of the tablets, adding that any drug bought on the black market was potentially lethal.
They have also warned those taking them that they are gambling with their lives.
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