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'Green Rolex' pills linked to 15 deaths

A spate of sudden recent deaths could be linked to fake ecstasy tablets, the Northern Irish Health Minister has said. 

The deaths of seven Scots and eight people in Northern Ireland have been linked to Green Rolex pills which have a crown or castle logo. 

Health Minister Edwin Poots said the pills could be linked to at least two of the eight sudden deaths in Northern Ireland.

The eight people who died over recent weeks were all in their 20s and 30s. 

Police Scotland confirmed that six people in west Scotland had died from taking 'Green Rolex'.

However, police in Northern Ireland have said it is “too early” to make firm determinations about the causes of the deaths. 

Police said the pills are being sold as ecstasy but which contain para-methoxyamphetamine (PMA), a toxic chemical with potentially fatal effects.

Poots said: "We need a co-ordinated and protective response to prevent tragedies like the ones we have seen in recent weeks.” 

Owen O'Neill from the Public Health Agency said the news was a "worrying development".

"People don't really understand that synthetic drugs all have different effects and if you mix alcohol with it you are not aware, you are not totally in control and you may overdose or overuse," he said.

"There have always been risks associated with illegal drugs, there is no quality control in that business."