Gerry Ryan's death 'a wake-up call on dangers of cocaine', says Dunphy
Eamon Dunphy has revealed that the death of his friend, Gerry Ryan, was a "wake-up call" to many people about the dangers of cocaine.
In his podcast, The Stand, the journalist and pundit said he had given up taking cocaine before Ryan died in 2010 - but the tragic death of the hugely popular 2FM star was a watershed in his life.
Cocaine has come under the international spotlight this week after Michael Gove's cocaine confession left his Tory leadership bid in Britain hanging in the balance.
In Ireland, a recent study revealed access to cocaine was as easy as ordering a cab, with the country the third-highest user of the drug in Europe in the past year after the UK and Spain.
In The Stand, Dunphy said: "Gerry Ryan, who was someone I admired greatly and liked greatly and was a friend of mine, died as a result of taking cocaine, but even before that, I'd stopped because what you were actually taking was just rubbish, it was dangerous rubbish.
"Gerry's death, I think, was a wake-up call for me and many other people that this so-called party drug was extremely dangerous.
"So I had my own sort of conscience to reflect on long before Gerry died, but I made a vow at that time never to take it again."
He said he made a conscious decision to be open about his use of the drug prior to Ryan's death to open up a conversation about the consumption of cocaine in Ireland.
"I have consumed cocaine, not terribly often - because as I said at the time, you can't get good cocaine in this town," Dunphy said.
"The serious point here is, as a journalist, it was very expensive to raise that issue and [it] almost cost me my job.
"The reason I was frank about it was (a) I wasn't running for office and (b) I thought we should have a serious conversation about decriminalising recreational drugs and I still think we should."
He pointed out that there is much more shame around the consumption of heroin in comparison to cocaine, which is acceptable at a certain level of society.
"It is a party drug taken by the middle classes and the more affluent people in society," he said.
The broadcaster was speaking to Sunday World Investigations Editor Nicola Tallant about the global scourge of cocaine and the route it takes from Colombian farmers to get into Ireland.
"We know how it ends for people, particularly in marginal or underprivileged areas of our own city in Dublin and elsewhere in Ireland," he said.
The report from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (Emcdda) has revealed that cocaine is now taken by one in 35 young adults or 2.9pc of 15 to 34-year-olds in Ireland.
There were 792 seizures of cocaine in Ireland in 2017, with the newly published drugs report revealing that both the number of seizures and quantities of cocaine seized across Europe are at record levels.