People playing 'Russian Roulette' with drugs, says West Cork rapid response doctor

Marita Moloney

A rapid response doctor has said people are playing ''Russian Roulette'' with drugs after he responded to an incident in West Cork last weekend.

Today, Dr Jason van der Velde spoke of his first-hand experience of responding to the aftermath of teenagers having a "drug-fuelled night" in Clonakilty, Co Cork.

Dr Jason van der Velde

The teenagers were described as having consumed some unidentified substances which left one 15-year-old boy in an unconscious state.

Speaking to Patricia Messinger on C103’s Cork Today Show, Dr van der Velde described how he presumed that the boy was in such a state after drinking, but, in fact, there was "not a sausage of evidence that this child had taken any alcohol whatsoever".

"He was vomiting, spitting at us, and behaving irrationally and there was not a smell of alcohol," Dr van der Velde said

An ambulance was called by the staff of the local teenage disco who found the boy.

Upon quizzing the other teenagers, it transpired that they had taken ecstasy, or what they thought what ecstasy.

"You can't know what these kids have taken, certainly the behaviour was not that off what you would expect from someone who has taken pure ecstasy," said Dr van der Velde.

He then clarified that the underage disco was not at fault, rather the staff are "invaluable" to the community for patrolling the area to ensure that kids behave themselves.

The doctor said that bad batches of drugs are often blamed for incidents, but he questions: "Is there any kind of good batch of drugs?"

"You wouldn't take a drink out of an open cup that's in an alleyway, would you?"

"I don't have all the answers, all I can do is bear witness to what we see responding on a night out, or when we respond to these drug overdoses," he said.

"The environment that we're going into, it's not safe; these drug dens that we go into, they're so filthy.

"You think all the infections that [people] are putting themselves at risk to taking some unknown tablet or liquid or inhalation of some substance, it's just craziness, it's Russian Roulette at its worst."

After the call out to Clonakilty, one teenager was sent to hospital but Dr van der Velde said there were a number of other incidents going on around the town that night and calls were made to parents.

The West Cork Rapid Response appealed to parents yesterday to speak with teenagers aged 15 to 17 about drug use.

"Parents, it’s time for that chat with your kids in the morning," it said on its Facebook page, after "another drug-fuelled night out in Clonakilty using up valuable emergency service resources".

Listen to the interview here:

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