The HSE is warning of strong-dose drugs in circulation ahead of the return of Electric Picnic.
The health service’s on-site drug testing team will be back at Stradbally once again this year – and is expanding its service with five “surrender bins” in place.
Samples tested at a festival earlier this year found that high-strength cocaine was in circulation, with experts reportedly estimating that it was nearly “100% pure”.
The HSE is warning people to be careful over the weekend and to avoid harmful drug mixtures which can have drastic effects.
HSE Emerging Drugs Trends Project Manager Nicki Killeen told Newstalk the on-site teams have identified drugs at festivals that had never been discovered in Ireland before.
“If someone is unwell and you have any of that drug left over, please consider putting it in one of our surrender bins,” she said.
“We have seen that at other events that people have surrendered drugs in the medical tents or people have come to us in our tent and said, ‘my friend has become unwell from this’ and they have given what was left from the group or what was left from the friend.
“Then that helps us know what is linked with medical situations on-site.”
She said the surrender bins are at three of the drug testing tents as well as at the medical services tents.
“These are safe spaces for people to come and get health intervention, to come and chat to the staff there and should they choose, to surrender the drugs,” she said.
“We want to emphasise that message that we are working really closely with local and national Gardaí to ensure we can have this operation.”
The harm reduction tents and surrender bins can be found near the main stage and at the Jimmy Hendrix and Janus Joplin campsites.
The HSE has already collected drug samples at the ‘Life’ and ‘Body & Soul’ festivals this year.
Electric Picnic gets underway this Friday and runs until Sunday night.