Sister of tragic Cork teen becomes addiction counsellor to spread word of drug-taking dangers

Sister of tragic Cork teen becomes addiction counsellor to spread word of drug-taking dangers

Nicole has visited dozens of schools around the country to speak to students and to raise awareness of the dangers of synthetic drugs. Pic: Darragh Kane

THE sister of a teenage boy who died after taking the synthetic drug "N Bomb" has been pre-accredited as an addiction counsellor after changing career following the passing of her younger brother.

Alex Ryan (18) of Liscahane in Millstreet, Co Cork died on January 23, 2016, after consuming a synthetic drug of the 2C family called 251 NBOMe at a house party in the city.

His older sister Nicole has visited dozens of schools around the country to speak to students and to raise awareness of the dangers of synthetic drugs.

Nicole says when Alex died she decided to give up her career in engineering to go back to college and study addiction.

“It was a bold move - a hard move being a mature student and going back for a second dose of the college life. I will graduate soon with a 2:1 from UCC in the field of Addiction Studies and I just got pre-accredited as an addiction counsellor by Addiction Counsellors of Ireland."

Nicole, who is still in her 20s, says it was a rigorous process with many ups "and a hell of a lot of downs".

Alex and Nicole Ryan.  Alex of Liscahane in Millstreet, Co Cork died on January 23, 2016, after consuming a synthetic drug of the 2C family called 251 NBOMe at a house party in the city.
Alex and Nicole Ryan.  Alex of Liscahane in Millstreet, Co Cork died on January 23, 2016, after consuming a synthetic drug of the 2C family called 251 NBOMe at a house party in the city.

"But I'm so proud of myself for embarking on this new adventure. Thanks to all my friends, family, colleagues, lecturers and classmates. I made it."

Following the inquest of Alex Ryan, Cork City Coroner Philip Comyn wrote to the Department of Education calling for more drugs awareness programmes in schools.

Furthermore, at the inquest in 2018 of 16-year-old Michael Cornacchia, who died from an overdose of fentanyl in Cork, Mr Comyn again repeated his call for additional resources to be put into drugs education in post-primary schools.

Six foot seven inches “gentle giant” Alex was a popular past pupil of Millstreet Community School. His death led the HSE to issue a warning about the dangers of the 2C family of psychedelic drugs. These drugs can be sold in liquid, powder and tablet form and are consumed for their stimulant and mood-altering properties.

Nicole said: "We are glad that Alex’s death was not wasted and that through (my website) Alex’s Adventures he is very much alive in our minds and hearts.

“I love spreading the word to young people about the dangers of drug-taking and the choices they have to make. By doing this it helps ease the grief and is a positive way of celebrating his short life”.

More information can be obtained at www.alexsadventure.ie.

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