Cork party drug victim Alex Ryan saved four lives

The devastated family of teenager Alex Ryan, who it’s believed is the first Irish victim of the deadly hallucinogenic drug, N-bomb, said their only consolation is that he saved four lives after they gave consent to organ donation.
Cork party drug victim Alex Ryan saved four lives

“That gives them some peace,” a source close to the family said last night.

Dozens of his friends held a poignant memorial for him at the weekend.

They gathered in Millstreet in north Cork just hours after his death in Cork University Hospital (CUH) on Saturday, and released Chinese lanterns into the night sky in his honour.

They also took to social media sites to express their grief after Alex’s family agreed to allow doctors turn off his life support machine in CUH on Saturday with his mother Irena and his sister Nicole at his bedside.

One close friend, who said Alex once saved her life by using CPR, posted a photograph of the gathering on Facebook, and said: “Look how much support you had behind you through your hard time.

“You fought all you could. Never did I expect this day to be beside you, holding your hand and sharing my goodbyes. We went through hell together but that’s what made us better friends. No words can describe how much we’re going to miss you, you absolute legend.”

Friends of Alex Ryan release Chinese lanterns into the night to honour the teenager who died after taking a deadly hallucinogenic drug at a house party in Cork City
Friends of Alex Ryan release Chinese lanterns into the night to honour the teenager who died after taking a deadly hallucinogenic drug at a house party in Cork City

Players at Alex’s former rugby club in Kanturk also observed a minute’s silence in his honour before an underage game on Saturday.

Alex, from Liscahane in Millstreet, a former student of Millstreet Community School, had been in a critical condition since taking the potent hallucinogenic stimulant at a house party in the Greenmount area of Cork city in the early hours of last Tuesday.

He was among six people were rushed to hospital after snorting the deadly substance. While the other five were released from hospital, Alex, 18, remained in critical condition until his life support was turned off on Saturday. It’s understood four patients in Ireland and the UK benefited from his organs.

Gerard Banks, who came upon the party goers at around 4am last Tuesday, and who described horrific scenes, including seeing blood-spattered party goers behaving erratically, said the events of the last week have had a deep effect on him. “My heart goes out to the people and family who were affected. Let’s get behind and support these families in their time of need and make sure no other families have to experience this,” he said.

North Cork TD Aine Collins described it as “hugely tragic”.

“People are just so traumatised. It’s horrific for everyone involved,” she said.

“In an ideal world, it would be best if everybody stayed aware from all drugs. But we don’t live in an ideal world.

“This serves as a warning to people of the dangers of drugs, particularly the newer forms that are being produced.”

Gardaí and medical experts initially believed the group had ingested, 2C-B, after some of the party-goers told them that was the drug they thought they had taken.

Alex Ryan
Alex Ryan

However, the results of toxicology tests, which emerged on Friday, confirmed they had consumed 25I-NBOMe, or N-bomb — a synthetic derivative of the 2C family of drugs.

Sources said 25I-NBOMe is “highly dangerous”, particularly when taken in powder form, as it was at the Cork house party. The drug was linked to the hospitalisations of six UCD students in May 2014. The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, which highlighted the dangers of 25I-NBOMe in a risk assessment in 2014, has also linked the drug to four deaths.

The incident prompted the HSE to issue specific warnings last week about the dangers of the 2C family of psychedelic designer drugs — whose street names include N-bomb, Smiles, Solaris, 25-I, INB-Meo, and Cimbi-5 — which can be sold in liquid, powder, and tablet form.

“There is no quality control on these drugs. There are problems with purity and contaminants, and there is no way of checking that what is purchased or consumed is the intended substance,” it said.

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