By Louise Roseingrave
The mother of a young man who fell into a river and drowned after taking drugs said injection centres will bring safer conditions for addicts.
Olive McKevitt’s son David McKevitt drowned after he fell into the River Liffey at a particularly dangerous spot on November 12 2015. The 20 year old from Lime Kiln Road in Walkinstown, Dublin 12 had recently taken heroin, an autopsy found.
“Injection centres would provide safe, clean environments for addicts where they have access to medical staff and counselling,” Ms McKevitt said.
At present, addicts attending drug treatment centres are targeted by drug dealers, Ms McKevitt said.
“If they attend the clinics they are taken advantage of as they enter and leave, they are targets. They might want more than anything to give up, but it's very difficult,” she said.
Her son’s drug use had become a concern around a year before he died Ms McKevitt had asked him not to use drugs in the house. As a result David was sleeping rough, often in a tent in the Phoenix Park.
His friend Michael Keane gave evidence of ‘stashing’ belongings at different locations around the city as the pair could not ‘carry everything everywhere.’
They left sleeping bags at Sir John Rogerson’s Quay the night David fell in to the river.
“David was walking ahead of me, I heard a scream and a splash. I jumped in and tried to save him .. then I lost sight of him and it was killing me,” Mr Keane said.
Garda Keith Connor attended a call to the scene at 8.14pm as described the spot where David entered the water as ‘treacherous.’
“There is a sheath of green algae across the flagstones,” he said. The search and rescue helicopter based at Dublin airport conducted sweeps of the river but Mr McKevitt’s body was not recovered until four days later. There was no CCTV footage available, Garda Connor said.
A postmortem report by Professor Eamon Leen found the young man had high levels of heroin and the sleeping tablet Zopiclone in his system.
Coroner Dr Crona Gallagher returned a verdict of accidental death.
“The conditions there were such that anyone could have fallen in regardless of intoxication. This was a very tragic accident that lead to his untimely death.”