Fears over new head shop drug called ‘Clockwork Orange’

Warnings have been issued over the 'legal high' Clockwork Orange
Warnings have been issued over the 'legal high' Clockwork Orange

A NEW head-shop drug called Clockwork Orange is being blamed for the deaths of two young people in a border town.

Despite being banned in Ireland since 2010 the so-called ‘legal-highs’ are still on sale north of border, where they can be legally bought over the counter.

Drug and community workers have raised fears over the availability of the synthetic drug, which has been designed to mimic the effects of cannabis.

Use of Clockwork Orange in Monaghan has sparked public meetings amid serious concern over its effects on young users.

“There has been some concern in Monaghan because there have been a number of deaths. We can’t be 100 per cent certain they are related to any particular drug, but we would have our concerns in relation to it,” said Monaghan Councillor Robbie Gallagher.

It is believed to be causing serious psychiatric problems and has been implicated in two deaths, one of which was a suicide.

Tony Duffin, from the Ana Liffey Drug Project, said his colleagues in the Cavan and Monaghan Drug Awareness group have been dealing with several cases.

Over the last 12 months dozens of local young men under the age of 25 have been referred to the service for help. Some users have had problems with delusions, hearing voices, suicidal ideation and compulsive use of the drug.

Legal highs have been banned in Ireland since 2010 and just over 100 head shops were shut down.

According to the Irish National Drug Treatment Reporting System, the number of people attending drug treatment over head shop drug use has fallen. There were 220 such cases reported in 2012, down from 368 in 2011.

However, a survey by the European commission in 2014 showed that Ireland has the highest level of such drug use in the EU.

The number of Irish 16 to 24-year-olds who admitted trying designer drugs rose from 16 per cent in 2011 to 22 per cent in 2014.