'When he died, my hopes and dreams died with him' - sister of Alex Ryan (18) who died after taking 'N-bomb' drug at house party
The sister of a young man who died after taking the hallucinogenic drug 'N-bomb' has spoken out for the first time since his death to raise awareness around the dangers of drugs.
Alex Ryan (18) was one of six partygoers hospitalised after taking the hallucinogenic drug 'N-bomb' at a house party in Cork city in January.
He was being treated at Cork University Hospital after he took ill at the party but sadly passed away several days later.
Sister Nicole told RTE's The Ryan Tubridy Show that she was stepping outside of her "comfort zone" to "get the message out there".
"I haven't talked publicly to anyone about this," she said in an emotional radio interview this morning.
"Even talking about it, it brings back all the feelings and it triggers anxiety. I have pretty bad panic attacks even talking about it sometimes.
"This is not a step for me, it's not even a leap, it's like jumping off the deep end headfirst without knowing how to swim."
Normally a very private person, Nicole said that she "got on great" with her little brother but they were very different people.
"Alex was just larger than life...he was also kind, he was lovely...he would give his last bit of money to somebody if he saw that they were homeless or in need," she said.
I never had the courage and the drive that he had...when he died a lot of my hopes and dreams died with him."
But Nicole said she wanted to face her fears and share Alex's story so that "people think twice about drugs" and she can achieve "a little bit of piece and little bit of closure".
"I know he's not there, I know he's not coming back - that's the reality of it. But for me it feels like he's just out there."
She spoke about the "surreal" day she found out Alex had taken ill and what her brother looked like when she first visited him in hospital.
"When I finally got in to see him he was just lying in the bed. He looked perfect and healthy, like he was just asleep. He had tubes and everything coming out of his mouth...it was shocking the severity of it."
Nicole also gave high praise to gardai and Gerard Banks, a passerby, for calling the paramedics to the scene of the house party.
"If they had never found him we would not have had the time we had with him in his last moments. I was happy that I got to say my last goodbyes."
Alex was taken out of his induced coma in the hope that he would "open his eyes, give us some movement" but that wasn't to be the case.
"The extent of the damage was unfolding day by day, hour by hour, he was critical the whole time.
"We never lost hope, hope was all we had. [But] we were watching him become unstable right in front of our eyes."