The heartbroken father of a teenage boy who died after ingesting nitrous oxide, otherwise known as ‘laughing gas’, has urged teenagers to stay away from the ‘lethal’ drug.
Mick Morrissey, of Cushlawn Park in Tallaght, took to the airwaves this afternoon to urge children to ‘say no’ to experimenting with the so-called ‘hippy crack’ that is widely available on the internet.
His 15-year-old son Alex Ryan Morrissey was found slumped over in an unresponsive state in the Ballycullen area on May 20.
He was rushed to Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Crumlin but died about two hours later.
In an emotional plea on RTE Radio One’s ‘Liveline’ programme today, Mr Morrissey fought back tears as he urged other youngsters to avoid the potentially deadly drug at any cost.
“If you see them on the street, tell them ‘no’,” he said of people selling the cheap drug locally.
“These things are lethal.”
The drug is commonly used by dentists as an anesthetic. However due to its euphoric quality and relatively cheap cost – as little as €1 or €2 per canister – it is being used by teenagers and even children to get a cheap high.
But Mr Morrissey said his son, who was preparing for his Leaving Cert during the lockdown, tragically paid for it with his life.
He has set up a foundation named after his son – Alex Ryan Morrissey – or ARM – in his son’s memory and plans to visit community clubs and other local organisations to educate children and their parents over the dangers of the drug.
He said spreading the word about the dangers of the drug would be well worth the effort “if it saves one child’s life to educate people about this.”
Emma Mooney, Alex’s former teacher at Kilmartin Community School, rang the programme to offer her condolences to Mr Morrissey and his heartbroken family.
She said: “Every teacher said he was an absolutely gorgeous child whose smile would light up every room.”