Wednesday 18 September 2019

'There's no such thing as a 'bad batch', it's all bad' - father of Jack (19) who died after suspected drugs tragedy at Indiependence festival

Jack pictured with his mum Elaine last year
Jack pictured with his mum Elaine last year

Gabija Gataveckaite

The father of a teen who died after a suspected drug tragedy at Indiependance festival earlier this month has said that when it comes to illegal drugs, there is no such thing as a bad batch as it's "all bad".

Speaking on the Marian Finucane programme on RTÉ Radio One this morning, Johnny and Elaine Downey spoke about their only son's untimely death.

Jack Downey (19) sought medical attention after suddenly falling ill after having ingested suspected ecstasy or MDMA at the festival in Cork. He was rushed to hospital and died three days later.

His heartbroken parents allowed Jack's friends into the ward to say their last goodbyes and so that they could see for themselves the damage illegal drugs could do.

Mr Downey explained how young people think they're "invincible" when they take recreational drugs.

"Smart, educated people think they're invincible, there's no class in it and it's all around us," he said.

"We put ourselves into a bubble thinking 'it's never going to happen to us' but unfortunately, it has happened to us," said Mr Downey.

"It's so prevalent in a sense that we just turn a blind eye."

He explained how it's very easy for young people to fall into the "trap".

"It's so easy for young fellas and young ones to fall into this trap and say, 'sure look, I'll get the buzz and be grand, drink a glass of water and be grand tomorrow morning'.

"There's no quality control in this, there's no such thing as a bad batch, it's all bad.

"We need to talk, that's the bottom line," he added.

His wife Elaine continued; "I would have never have thought it would happen to me.

"I would never have thought my fine son would be in the cemetery.

"With kids, with teenagers, their lives are so different to ours.

"Just makes you more aware of the reality of life and we're all heartbroken and there's no way back for us, but there might be for someone else," she added.

Speaking to the Sunday Independent last week, Mrs Downey explained how she felt that young people need to look out for each other.

"We can't let what happened to Jack happen to any other boy or girl.

"People have to stand up and speak. The young need to look out for each other.

"And people should be willing to pull youngsters aside if they are doing what they shouldn't be doing, even if they get a tongue-lashing for intervening," she said.

"We are all too casual about what is going on among young people in Ireland," she added.

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