Gardaí (Irish police) have issued a warning to the public about the dangers of buying prescription medicines online after seizing some 300 tablets in west Cork area believed to have been bought illegally from the dark web.
Insp Dave Callaghan of Bandon Garda station said gardaí were concerned from a public health perspective about the risk such online purchases pose as there is no guarantee people are getting what they think when they buy drugs online.
“Tablets bought through the dark web or other illegal sources pose a real danger to the health of individuals who consume them as the exact makeup and content of the tablet is unknown,” he said.
“As we’ve seen elsewhere, this has resulted in death or caused severe health risks so we would urge anyone to think again before buying any tablets online because you just don’t know what you are buying.”
The seizure of the € 900 worth of drugs in west Cork comes as gardaí in Co Offaly continue to investigate whether the deaths of two women in Tullamore are linked to the suspected purchase of drugs on the internet.
Angela Kelly (44) died at Clonamore House Hotel in Tullamore last Sunday and Amy Mannix (19) died there on Monday while two men living in the same accommodation had to be taken to hospital for treatment.
Gardaí in Tullamore suspect the women’s death may be linked to a batch of fake anti-anxiety drugs, purporting to be Xanax, which they believe was purchased online and distributed to drugs users in Tullamore.
Investigators say that they hope toxicology tests taken at the postmortem will establish the exact cause of death in the case of both Ms Kelly and Ms Mannix as the two men remain from Clonamore House Hotel remain in hospital.
Gardaí say there has been a significant increase in the purchase of drugs from the internet in recent weeks as the Covid-19 pandemic and the resultant lockdown has shut down more traditional ways of obtaining them.
Meanwhile, officers from the West Cork Divisional Drugs Unit backed up by local officers from Skibbereen recovered some 300 tablets when they stopped and searched a man and woman in Skibbereen Thursday morning.
Gardaí suspect that the man, who is in his 30s, and the woman, who is in her 20s, purchased the tablets over the internet and then took receipt of the tablets when they were delivered by post.
Gardaí say that they did not make any arrests in the case but they are following a definite line of inquiry into the purchase of the drugs, pointing out that the purchase of prescription medication on the internet is illegal.
Gardaí suspect that the tablets are Limovan, a sleeping tablet, and Valium, a calming medication, but they are awaiting the results of analysis at the Forensic Science Laboratory before confirming what exactly they are.
They have urged any person with any information on the illegal importation, sale or supply of prescription drugs to contact their local Garda Station or the Garda Confidential Line at 1800 666 111.
Meanwhile a report by the Health Research Board, the Ana Liffey Drug Project and University College Cork said increasing numbers of people are buying tablets such as Xanax and Valium online from “pharmacies” which do not require prescriptions.
These “pharmacies”are not regulated and analysis of the medications bought from them shows that many are far too strong or not strong enough compared to the official brands.