Nicole Ryan says we should not judge tragic teenager and instead think of his family and his friends

Nicole Ryan says we should not judge tragic teenager and instead think of his family and his friends
Nicole Ryan, the sister of Alex Ryan who died earlier this year of an overdose after taking a legal high sits in the Town Park of Millstreet and reflects with the memories of her brother on a chair made in his memory.

THE sister of a young man who died after taking a synthetic drug has urged people not to judge the teenager who is believed to have died after ingesting a drug at the Indiependence Festival.

Nineteen-year-old Jack Downey, from Clonmel, died in Cork University Hospital on Sunday. He was rushed there on Friday from the festival site in Mitchelstown. 

Nicole Ryan’s brother, 18-year-old Alex, from Millstreet, died in January 2018, after consuming the synthetic drug, N-bomb, at a party in Cork city. She has since set up a drug awareness programme to educate young people about the dangers of drugs. 

“While the greater majority of us were out enjoying the bank holiday weekend, two parents received a call that every single parent fears,” she said. 

Alex and Nicole Ryan
Alex and Nicole Ryan

“They spent the weekend sitting in the ICU, beside their boy’s bedside, hoping and praying that he would wake up and get better; everyone prayed and everyone hoped. Unfortunately, this was sadly not the case and, in the space of three days, a beautiful life was gone; Jack was gone.”

She continued: “While the circumstances surrounding his death are not yet fully known, a substance was involved. Like so many others who attended the festival, I am certain Jack was not the only one who may have ingested a substance, but, sadly, he was the only one to pay the ultimate price."

"To the people that judge and sit on their pillar of gold, reserve your judgement and think of his family and his friends, at this time. What they have been lunged into is a situation I would not wish on my worst enemy, or anybody at all, for that matter.”

And she said: “This was a boy who was young, smart, loving, and had a bright future ahead of him, and all that was taken away in one split decision. Reserve your judgement and if you must judge, then judge our drug-education system. A system that is flawed, that uses scare tactics and non-factual information, a system that is heavily reliant on just teachers who are overworked already.”

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