Tuesday 17 July 2018

Doctor who treated unconscious teen warns Irish people are playing 'Russian roulette' with drugs

The incident is just one in a growing trend of drug use amongst youths, says doctor
The incident is just one in a growing trend of drug use amongst youths, says doctor

Conor McCrave

Incident is just one in a growing trend of drug use amongst youths

Dr Jason van der Velde arrived at a scene in Clonakilty, Co Cork on Saturday where a fifteen-year-old boy was unconscious and vomiting following a “drug-fueled” night.

There was no evidence that alcohol had been consumed by the boy and it was eventually discovered that a form of ecstasy had been taken, he said.  

This incident is just one in a growing trend of drug use amongst youths which has “the potential to ruin their lives”, according to the Dr van der Velde.

Speaking to Independent.ie about the incident he said, “when you arrive you might find violence, unconscious throwing up, or they could be dangerously close to [cardiac] arrest”.

“Most of the time you arrive and find someone dead or you find someone who has done some degree of self-harm while they are on drugs,” he added.

Dr van der Velde, who is a doctor at University Hospital Cork as well as a volunteer with the West Cork Rapid Response team, said there is a “general acceptance” in society towards drugs.

He has called on parents to take action in educating children against drug use. He said parents are either unaware of drug-taking or turning a blind eye to it out of fear.

“You get to the point where you see enough deaths of young people taking drugs, you have to bear witness. I think there is a growing complacency or acceptance where nothing seems to be getting done about it.”

He warned that “teenagers will experiment, it is going to happen [and] parents need to have these conversations with their children. It needs to come down to a family-based approach”.

He also said there was an acceptance that some drugs could be “a bad batch” but added that there is no such thing as a bad batch when these drugs are unregulated and untraceable.

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