herald

Tuesday 19 September 2017

Mum warns of withdrawal dangers

A 17-year-old girl had to be placed in a psychiatric unit for six days after trying to hurt herself while in withdrawal from head shop substances.

Chloe McDonagh from Bray tried to shave the skin off her arm with a razor and her mum Caroline is warning parents to be vigilant over the next few days while their children go into withdrawal as head shops close.

Chloe survived a 35-minute seizure and doctors had to battle for three hours to keep her alive after she took a mephedrone-based head shop drug.

Chloe pleaded with her mother for help before she hurt herself or "somebody else".

Caroline told the Herald that she feels teenagers are more suicide prone while in withdrawal rather than while they are on the head shop drugs.

"When she stopped taking it her head went completely, she ended up going to a psychiatric unit for a week," she said.

"Her thoughts were all over the place, I even found her in the bathroom trying to shave the skin off her arm with a razor. Her mind was not her own, she was trying to hurt herself.

"She was crying, crying out for help saying 'Mammy, you have to bring me somewhere before I hurt myself or someone else'.

"It took two weeks for her to return to herself.

"The withdrawals were every bit as bad as the effect of the drugs themselves, if not worse.

"Thank God she has come back to herself, she's able to talk to her family now like a normal person.

"Before Chloe took ill I had no idea that she was taking these things and I'm sure that there are countless parents in the same situation out there.

"I would warn them to keep a close eye on their children and if they see changes in their children's behaviour in the next few days to look for withdrawal symptoms.

"Chloe was lucky and I hope it's the same for the rest of the affected children out there."

Caroline said that she was relieved that legislation had finally been brought forward to close down head shops and ban the substance, mephedrone, which almost robbed her of her daughter.

"We're absolutely delighted, thrilled that these head shops are closing down all over the country," she added.

hnews@herald.ie

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