The police have issued a warning about drugs following the death of 42-year-old Gerard Mulholland in Twinbrook on Friday night.
Police say that while they are still waiting on post mortem results following the man’s ‘unexplained’ death but are not yet in a position to confirm that the death was caused by drugs misuse.
They have called on the public to heed warnings about the dangers of taking illegal drugs.
Gerard Mulholland is believed to have died after using a deadly batch of ‘speckled Rolex’ ecstasy tablets during a party at his Thornhill Court flat.
When paramedics arrived at the scene around 7.30pm they also found four men were lying on the ground shaking with agony.
They were later treated at Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital.
A spokesperson for the PSNI, and its partners including the Public Health Agency, have warned in the past of the dangers of taking illegal drugs including all types of ecstasy.
“Again we would stress to everyone who pursues this lifestyle to think very carefully about what they are doing,” a spokesperson for the police said.
“These drugs can be any colour, any shape and any size. They can have any motif or design printed on them.
“They are illegal because they are harmful. Taking illegal substances can put your life at risk.
“These drugs are toxic and both dealers and users may never know how strong each sample is.
“There is no such thing as a safe drug or a safe dose. Some may take longer to affect you causing you to take more – which can lead to seizures, convulsions, heart attack and ultimately death.
“The advice is simple. Do not take illegal drugs and do not take prescription drugs that have not been prescribed to you.
“The Police Service of Northern Ireland will continue to disrupt and arrest drug dealers involved in the sale and supply of drugs, bring individuals before the courts and work with communities and partner agencies to reduce the threat of harmful and illegal activity.
“We would ask members of the public for their support and co-operation in tackling this problem through the criminal justice system.
“Drug dealing is an issue of concern for all communities and tackling the supply, distribution and sale of illegal drugs is a policing priority.”
On the Steven Nolan show, this week, Health Minister Edwin Poots said that communities needed to stand up to drug dealers.
He claimed that up to 100 people die each year from drugs deaths and blamed the paramilitary groups for permitting the sale of drugs in local communities.
“I would expect that the people who provide these drugs are known within the community,” he said.
“They operate with impunity because they will pay paramilitary organisations a cut of the money and therefore they are able to sell within our communities.
“Two people die each week as a result of ingesting drugs, that’s around 100 a year.
“These people are traitors to their communities and they need to be removed from our communities,” he said.
“The community need to stand up and say enough is enough.
“We do not want drug dealers on our streets and we do not support those who permit them to be there.”
Tributes were also paid on social networking sites.
DJ Michael Quigley posted “Terrible news, one of the underground sessions crew has passed away. Truly a genuine guy. Rest in peace Gerard mate.”
Another read “Gerard Mullholland jezzz RIP wee dude you’ll never be forgotten xxx.”
Others wrote “RIP wee mull xxx” and “RIP Gerard terrible, x pray everyone else (as) well.”
SDLP councillor Brian Heading said: “The tragic loss of life of a man in Twinbrook yesterday evening will be a devastating blow to his family and friends particularly at this time of the year.
“It is clear that whoever may be supplying this drug has no regard whatsoever for human life.
“I would ask the local community to co-operate with the police during the course of this investigation and come forward with any information that may be relevant.”