Eamon Dunphy said he vowed never to take cocaine again after the death of Gerry Ryan
Broadcaster and journalist Eamon Dunphy has described the death of his friend, Gerry Ryan, as a wake-up call to many people about the dangers of cocaine.
Cocaine has come under the international spotlight this week as British Conservative party leadership candidate Michael Gove’s cocaine confession threatens to undo his campaign.
In Ireland, a recent study revealed access to cocaine was as easy as ordering a cab with the nation the third highest user of the drug in Europe in the past year.
In his podcast, 'The Stand', Eamon Dunphy said he had given up his cocaine habit before Gerry Ryan died in 2010 but the tragic death of the hugely popular 2FM star was a watershed in his life.
“Gerry Ryan, who was someone I admired greatly and liked greatly and was a friend of mine, died as a result of taking cocaine but even before that I'd stopped because what you were actually taking was just rubbish, it was dangerous rubbish," he said in 'The Stand'.
“Gerry’s death, I think was a wake-up call for me and many other people that this so-called party drug was extremely dangerous.
"So I had my own sort of conscience to reflect on long before Gerry died but I made a vow at that time never to take it again.”
He said he made a conscious decision to be open about his use of the drug prior to Gerry Ryan’s death to open up a conversation about the consumption of cocaine in Ireland.
“I have consumed cocaine, not terribly often, because as I said at the time you can’t get good cocaine in this town [a remark he made in 1998]. It was kind of a party drug and I was guilty of consuming it and I confessed.
"I wasn’t caught with it, I said I consumed it.
“The serious point here is as a journalist it was very expensive to raise that issue and almost cost me my job.
“The reason I was frank about it was (a) I wasn’t running for office and (b) I thought we should have a serious conversation about decriminalising recreational drugs and I still think we should."
He pointed out that there is much more shame around the consumption of heroin in comparison to cocaine which is acceptable at a certain level of society.
He said: “It is a party drug taken by the middle classes and the more affluent people in society.”
The broadcaster was speaking to Investigations Editor with the Sunday World, Nicola Tallant, about the global scourge of cocaine and the route it takes from Columbian farmers to get into Ireland.
“We know how it ends for people particularly in marginal or underprivileged areas of our own city in Dublin and elsewhere in Ireland but particularly in Dublin with the gang warfare and the deaths we’ve seen recently of young men and the terrible poignancy of that.”
The new report from European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (Emcdda) has revealed cocaine is now taken by one in 35 young adults or 2.9% of 15 to 34 years old in Ireland.
The nation along with Denmark, France, Spain, the Netherlands and Britain are the top six countries in Europe when it comes to cocaine consumption among young people.
There were 792 seizures of cocaine in Ireland in 2017 with the newly published drugs report revealing that both the number of seizures and quantities of cocaine seized across Europe are at record levels.