A NUMBER of teens required emergency medical attention in Clonakilty recently when they became unwell after ingesting what at least one of them thought was ecstasy.
The four or so youngsters were discovered at different locations around the town on Saturday night presenting with similar symptoms: vomiting and with a raised heart beat.
The alarm was first raised when a 15 year old male was found collapsed and unconscious in the vicinity of the Boiler Room disco by event organisers who conduct regular patrols of the area as part of their stringent security measures.
They alerted emergency services and first on the scene at around 10pm was Dr Jason van der Velde of West Cork Rapid Response who said it wasn’t ‘an isolated thing’ with other teens found around estates in the town ‘looking in a dreadful state and all behaving in the same way.’
Dr Jason said: ‘It was very clear from the outset that alcohol was not involved in these cases. There wasn’t even a hint of a smell of alcohol. I was able to get some sense from one lad who told me he thought he had taken ecstasy. He had clearly ingested something but was definitely not behaving as if he had taken ecstasy.’
The emergency responder added: ‘There was no way of knowing where the stuff had come from. We can’t ever know what they’ve taken but it’s very simple to get drugs anywhere. The 15 year old was taken to hospital and there were around half a dozen calls made to other parents about their children – they’re not nice calls to make.’
He posted about the incident on the West Cork Rapid Response Facebook page on Saturday night saying: ‘Another drug fuelled night out in Clonakilty using up valuable emergency service resources . Parents, it’s time for that chat with your kids in the morning. All 15 to 17yrs olds so far tonight.’
Speaking to The Southern Star the Dutch man expanded on that by saying it wasn’t a waste of valuable resources if he was ‘helping a desperately unwell child.’
And he was emphatic that the likes of the Boiler Room disco in Clonakilty, who employ their own private medics, was an essential service that provided a safe hub for teens which helped with harm reduction. He stressed that Saturday’s incidents were completely unrelated to this disco.
‘It’s just that I cannot fathom why young people are getting themselves into such a state. It’s incomprehensible to me – these are young, fit and healthy people who want futures. Why do they do this? And then we’re the ones who pick up the pieces.’
He said that parents needed to ‘understand that drug taking is out there’ and to have that ‘honest conversation’ with their children.
‘I’m just like everyone else, I don’t have the answers. I have five kids and I worry about them growing up and what they’ll get into. All I can do is respond to what’s going on.’
Inspector Fergal Foley, Clonakilty confirmed they dealt with four young people in the town last Saturday night who were under the influence of intoxicants, (alcohol and or, drugs). Two of them were intercepted going into the Boiler Room, and two outside. He described the night as a ‘normal Saturday night, nothing out of the blue.’
He added: ‘A number of drug searches were also conducted on young people in the town on the night. Nothing was recovered.’
Former SF Cllr Cionnaith Ó Suilleabhain wrote on Facebook in response to Dr Jason’s post: ‘There seems to be an acceptable level of drug use/dealing in our community. The people of West Cork didn’t think their hundreds of thousands of euros of fundraising for West Cork Rapid Response was for this purpose I’m sure.’
Dunmanway woman Laurel Bryan benefited from Dr Jason’s expertise last week after her husband suffered a fall from a wall.
He met the ambulance taking her husband to CUH near Ballineen where he established the extent of his injuries as there had been fears he had a punctured a lung.
‘If Dr Jason had been tied up with these youngsters, we wouldn’t have had his expertise and reassurance.’