Lethal drug which killed teen sourced on the ‘DarkWeb’ from Thai supplier for sale in Cork

A potent designer drug which claimed the life of 18-year-old teen Alex Ryan was sourced from Thailand on the so-called ‘DarkWeb’ for sale throughout Cork, an inquest has heard. Speaking after the inquest, where a verdict of misadventure was returned, Alex’s sister Nicole urged people to think about the consequences before taking drugs.

“Young people need to realise that they are playing Russian roulette with their lives when they take drugs,” she said. “Alex could have been anyone’s brother, son or partner – it is not a question of ‘if’ someone else will die from drugs in Ireland, it is only a question of when.”

Nicole has now devoted herself to speaking in schools to warn youngsters about the dangers of drugs. Mr Ryan died after ingesting a lethal synthetic party drug on January 18 2016. Six people fell ill after the four-day Cork house party attended by Mr Ryan but only the teen died.

Gardaí revealed that when they attended the Cork house involved, some partygoers were dancing naked covered in their own blood. One naked partygoer was using their own blood to create images on the house walls. In a subsequent statement to Gardaí, one partygoer described it was “the best trip” she had ever had.

Nicole said she found such comments to be “absolutely shocking” given that her brother had lost his life. She said her family hadn’t received any apology or direct expression of sympathy from those at the party.

Almost a year after Mr Ryan’s death in an unconnected tragedy, another Cork teen, Michael Cornacchia (16), died after the suspected ingestion of a different designer drug. His death last month prompted the HSE to issue a public warning over a synthetic opioid, U-47700, feared to be in circulation in Cork and south Munster. Mr Cornacchia’s inquest has yet to be staged.

Speaking during Alex’s inquest coroner Philip Comyn demanded a radical overhaul of drug education in Irish schools after he revealed one-in-three inquests he held this year involved deaths connected to drugs or alcohol.

In evidence at Alex Ryan’s inquest, Gardaí warned that youngsters have no idea of precisely what is contained in such drugs. Detective Sargent Jason Lynch said that some synthetic drugs seized by Gardaí over recent years have included such ingredients as Ajax scouring powder, rat poison, cement and even piano wire cleaner.

“The drugs market has changed. The (drugs) market now changes on a weekly basis,” he said, in terms of specific designer drug demand. Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster admitted that Irish doctors and lab technicians are battling to keep up with the changes in such synthetic drugs. “They are highly dangerous. Even a small amount of these drugs can kill you,” she said. “People in the labs are working hard to keep up with the new types of drugs.”

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