Tuesday 25 September 2018

Taking drugs is just 'like playing Russian roulette', says N-Bomb teen's sister

Tragic teenager Alex Ryan
Tragic teenager Alex Ryan

A coroner has demanded a radical overhaul of drug education in Irish schools after revealing that more than a third of inquests held in Cork this year involved deaths connected to drugs or alcohol.

Philip Comyn's call came as the sister of a teenager who died from a lethal synthetic party drug nicknamed N-Bomb pleaded with youngsters to say no to drugs.

Nicole Ryan was speaking after an inquest returned a verdict of death by misadventure for her 18-year-old brother, Alex.

The deadly psychedelic drug that claimed his life was sourced via the "dark web" from a supplier in Thailand.

"Young people need to realise they're playing Russian roulette with their lives when they take drugs," Ms Ryan said.

"It's not a question of if someone else will die from drugs in Ireland, it's when."

Alex died after ingesting the drug on January 18 last year.

Six people became ill after the four-day house party he attended, but he was the only one to die.

Gardai revealed that, when they arrived at the house, some party-goers were dancing naked while smeared with their own blood.

The alarm was raised when one young person ran naked into the street.


Another naked party-goer was using their own blood to draw images on the walls inside the house. Gardai said that when they entered the property they were met with "a scene of total chaos".

Alex was found lying unconscious on his back on the floor.

In a subsequent statement to gardai, one reveller described the party as "the best trip" she had ever had.

Ms Ryan said she found such comments "absolutely shocking" given that her brother had lost his life.

In an unconnected tragedy almost a year after Alex's death, another Cork teenager, Michael Cornacchia (16), died after the suspected ingestion of a different designer drug.

Giving evidence at Alex's inquest, gardai warned that young people have no idea of what exactly is contained in such party drugs.

Det Sgt Jason Lynch said some synthetic drugs seized by gardai in recent years have included such trace ingredients as Ajax scouring powder, rat poison, cement and even piano wire cleaner.


Coroner Mr Comyn said that, if any good was to come from Alex's death, it had to be through better Irish drug education measures.

"My recommendation today is that drugs awareness and education needs to be tackled in a much more structured way, particularly in schools," he said.

He added that 17 of 46 (36.9pc) inquests in Cork this year had directly or indirectly involved drugs or alcohol.

Last year, 253 inquests were held in Cork, with 10.6pc directly and 22.1pc indirectly involving drugs or alcohol. Many involved young people.

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