Misadventure verdict on teenager’s death after taking ecstasy
Toxicology results show evidence of drug and alcohol consumption mix in Leitrim fatality
A coroner has criticised our “binge” culture after hearing a 19-year-old girl died after ingesting a cocktail of illegal drugs mixed with alcohol. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
A coroner has criticised our “binge” culture after hearing that a 19-year-old girl died after ingesting a cocktail of illegal drugs mixed with alcohol.
Sligo Coroners Court heart that Ava Roddy of Church View, Boyle, Co Roscommon, was found unresponsive on a minibus outside the 360 nightclub in Carrick on Shannon, Co Leitrim, in the early hours of September 30th, 2013 .
She and a group of friends had been invited to a Christening party in Boyle earlier that day and the jury heard one of them had bought ecstasy tablets through a contact on Facebook.
Inspector Ray Mulderrig who led the investigation told coroner Éamon MacGowan that, following a lengthy investigation, gardaí had identified the two men who had supplied drugs to the young women, and had submitted a file to the Director of Public Prosecutions
But because of a Court of Appeal ruling with had identified a defect in the law, they were unable to prosecute the suppliers. He said that anomaly had since been corrected.
The jury heard that a group of five friends including Ava and her older sister Enya were invited to a Christening party in Boyle on September 29th, 2013. They decided they would take some ecstasy, and one of the group, Cliona Dooley, also from Church View, said she approached someone from Carrick on Shannon on Facebook .
The next day he pulled up outside her door and handed her five tablets wrapped in tissue, which were blue/grey and in the shape of a ghost. They met up in the home of one of the friends and were drinking. The ecstasy was distributed and later they went to the Alley bar in Boyle where they talked about getting more ecstasy.
Ava took an ecstasy tablet in the bar, the jury heard. She told her friends she could get more from someone in the pub and she was later seen with 10 tablets “wrapped in a paper like sweets”. She told one friend they cost €60 and they had to pay for them by the following Friday. Later, they went to the 360 nightclub in Carrick and witnesses saw Ava barefoot and sitting on the floor. Two staff members said they had escorted her outside to get some fresh air and, after seeing her embrace another young woman, apparently her sister, they assumed she was okay.
The driver of the minibus, Séamus Furey, from Boyle, who described it as “the worst night ever working on the bus”, said when she was helped back on, the young woman was agitated “kicking and banging” and putting her feet up on the window. Some of her friends were saying she was okay but he called an ambulance.
When paramedics arrived she was unresponsive.
Consultant pathologist Dr Malcolm Little, who outlined the postmortem results, said toxicology results showed evidence of quite a significant number of drugs as well as alcohol.
He said the amount of alcohol was “moderate” , the equivalent of about two pints, but the problem was the combination of drugs and alcohol. The jury returned a unanimous verdict of death by misadventure. The cause of death was acute pulmonary congestion and oedema.
Referring to “peer pressure”, the coroner said he did not want to lecture society but he believed “we suffer from a binge society especially in relation to alcohol”. But Mr MacGowan said that at least there were measures with alcohol but “with illegal drugs you do not know what you are doing”. He extended sympathy to Ava’s father, Noel Roddy, who had been at home that night in Boyle when he got the call from gardaí “which is every parent’s worst nightmare”.