DETECTIVES are linking the sudden death of a man at a west Belfast house party to the possible circulation of a new batch of deadly drugs in the city.
Father-of-one Kevin Doherty was taken to hospital around 11 am on Wednesday after taking ill at a house party in the Lower Falls district.
It is understood the 30-year-old had been partying with friends in the Ross Street area when he collapsed.
Two other men who were also at the party were rushed to hospital and had to be placed in an induced coma.
Both men are now said to be recovering well following treatment.
Mr Doherty was well known in the area and played and coached for the local Immaculata football club.
West Belfast Sinn Fein MP Paul Maskey said he believed there was a suspected drugs link to the death.
“There are major concerns out there that drugs were involved in this death,” said Mr Maskey.
“This is not only happening in west Belfast but right across Belfast and, indeed further. There are dangerous consequences for people taking drugs. I believe those involved in taking drugs should desist because it is very clear to us all that there are bad batches out there at the moment.”
Maskey said the dead man’s family had been left devastated.
“He was very active in sports and was well liked within the community. It is just unfortunate that he appears to have got caught up with drugs. His family are devastated and are trying to work out how to get their heads round this.
“They probably never thought this was something that would come to their door.”
Mr Maskey urged young people not to take drugs.
“There is no such thing as a safe drug. No one knows what drug dealers are putting into drugs and they do not care how it affects and devastates human life.”
The PSNI confirmed in a statement that they were investigating the death.
“Police in west Belfast are investigating the circumstances surrounding the sudden death of a 30-year-old man.”
This is the latest in a spate of suspected drugs-related deaths across Northern Ireland.
Several months ago police warned of a deadly batch of Ectasy tablet know as ‘Green Rolex’ which were in circulation.
At least three people are known to have died from taking the tablets.
The PSNI’s Organised Crime Branch has seized the ‘Green Rolex’ tablets during searches in Belfast and Antrim.