Killer weight-loss drugs for sale in Dublin
THIS is how easy it is to buy toxic slimming pills on the streets of Ireland.
Our undercover reporter can be seen leaning into a car and handing over €55 before receiving a plastic bag full of tablets in return.
The female dealer – who is openly running the illegal operation on Facebook – then speeds off to meet her next customer.
The small white pills contain Clenbuterol – a potentially lethal steroid-based drug used by desperate slimmers.
The drug, which is also used by farmers to relax the uterus in cows, is highly illegal in Ireland and has been known to damage heart muscles in humans.
Our purchase comes just weeks after health officials confirmed Ireland’s first-known death from slimming pills which had been bought online.
The tragic 24-year-old, from Co. Cavan, died suddenly on May 14 following the suspected consumption of dinitrophenol, or DNP, which has been linked to 60 deaths worldwide.
As part an investigation into the sale of these tablets online, our reporter made contact with one pill pusher who sells the illegal drug through a promotional Facebook page.
According to the page, called Tan Injections & Slimming Tablets, the aggressive “fat burning” tablets will help you “lose weight and feel great”.
Despite the obvious dangers associated with the potent pills, our reporter is informed of the price and the name of the drug in question within minutes of making contact with the unscrupulous seller.
She contacted our girl saying: “The clenbuturol is €55 per month. Special at the moment is two for €100 or three for €140. One each morning before breakfast cut out greasy foods and plenty of water where are u based?”
Close to 6,000 people have liked the popular Facebook page, with scores of women openly enquiring about the potent slimming drug.
Delighted customers are also happy to leave testimonials of the drug’s miracle qualities.
One Facebook user wrote: “Hey hun just a quick txt to let you know I finished my months course yesterday and have just weighed myself am down 16&1/2 pounds I’m so happy.”
Another happy customer wrote: “First week done and lost 11lbs chuffed.”
After making contact online, we agree to meet the seller in a car park of Liffey Valley Shopping Centre, west Dublin.
Our reporter is greeted by a woman who informs us: “The pills really do work, but make sure you eat before taking them, some of the girls get the shakes if they don’t.”
Knowing nothing of our reporter’s medical history, the pills are quickly exchanged for cash through the car window.
Clenbuterol is illegal in Ireland and can cause side effects including palpitations, muscle cramps, insomnia, vomiting, tremors, breathing difficulties and strokes.
It raises temperature and heart rate to burn fat, leading to an increased risk of stroke and permanent metabolism change. This means you could end up with an even greater weight problem in future.
The substance is so potent that in most countries in Europe, Clenbuterol is also forbidden for use in animals that will enter the food chain.
In Spain in 1994, 140 people were reportedly hospitalised after they consumed meat tainted with the drug.
Although often used by bodybuilders, the drug has been more recently been used by celebrities such as Britney Spears (right) and Lindsay Lohan.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport also handed cyclist Alberto Contador a two year sanction for his positive test for Clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour de France.
Figures from the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) show that, on average, almost 550 slimming tablets are seized every day by the authority and customs officials.
Some 154,109 tablets were seized in 2013, with 153,042 confiscated in 2012. This compares to 251,883 in 2011 and 290,240 in 2010.
Last month, it emerged that a 24-year-old man died suddenly on May 14 in the latest suspected case of DNP poisoning.
The toxic drug was also linked to the death of Eloise Parry, of Shrewsbury, Shropshire, while a Frenchman was fighting for his life after taking the drug.
This week, in a statement released to the Sunday World, the HPRA said selling Clenbuterol was highly illegal.
“Clenbuterol is not licensed in Ireland for human use. The HPRA advises any consumers who are using this product to cease doing so immediately.”
For further information, see the HPRA’s website at www.hpra.ie