GardaŪ in Cork have carried out a number of raids on the homes of suspected drug dealers in an attempt to rid Cork City of a batch of unusually pure heroin, after the deaths of two men.
Drug squad detectives seized a small quantity of substances which are to be sent for analysis but no arrests have been made.
The HSE last night issued a warning to heroin users in Cork after the two deaths.
Seven others have been treated for suspected overdoses in Cork University Hospital (CUH). Two of them remain in a critical condition.
Dr Chris Luke, consultant in emergency medicine at the Mercy and Cork University Hospitals, said it was imperative that heroin users were made aware of the lethal dangers posed by this batch.
"We donít think it is contaminated with an infectious agent. We think this is a strong, purer, more concentrated form of the drug than users in Cork are used to.
"The message we need to get out is donít inject. But if you are going to inject, then certainly donít do it alone, and if you feel ill, seek medical help immediately."
The super-pure heroin claimed its first victim, Gary OíSullivan, 30, on Thursday. Mr OíSullivan, originally from Togher, died after emergency services were called to an apartment on Blackrock Rd.
It is understood his girlfriend died in similar circumstances just over a month ago.
The second victim, Gavin Thompson, 26, was found dead yesterday in a house at Lansdowne Court, off the Old Youghal Rd.
The two men who are seriously ill were found by ambulance crews in respiratory arrest. Their lives were saved when the paramedics administered naloxone ó an antidote for opiates.
David Lane of the HSE South Addiction Services warned of the risks of taking drugs but said drug users can take practical steps to prevent overdose.