Teenager says he is lucky to be alive after reaction to head shop product


DUBLINER DARYL Smith took a head shop product, Wild Cat, two weeks ago and later found himself on the railway track, preparing to throw himself in front of a train. But it was late at night and no train came.

Memories of the night are “very vague” and the 19-year-old doesn’t remember how long he waited for a train. He recalls, though, that he had brought a screwdriver as a back-up plan.

He stabbed himself with the screwdriver and wandered around Phibsboro before passing out at a bus stop. He was found by gardaí and taken to hospital.

He said he had bought Wild Cat from a head shop because it was said to mimic the effect of cocaine. Head shops sell legal highs and drug paraphernalia.

He and friends had taken Wild Cat before, but on that night he was alone and he took more than usual. “I started hearing these voices, saying nobody cared for me or wanted me around. It was horrible and depressing. I really felt and believed I wanted nothing more but to die.”

He feels he was lucky to escape with his life that night. “If a train had come I would have done it. No question about it,” he says. “Now I’m waking up with his hole in my wrist and I’m wondering, why did I do this to myself?”

His friend also had a bad experience with the substance. “He had psychosis. He was talking to himself, to people who were not there. He was speaking with a different accent and using a strange dialect. He was asking who I was. It was really weird.”

Wild Cat is sold as a bath salt but costs €35 for one gram, which would make for a very expensive bath time. The product packaging states that it is not for human consumption. However, Mr Smith snorted the substance.

The head shop where Mr Smith bought the product did not respond to a query from The Irish Times.

He said he wanted to go public with his experience to warn others to stay away from the substance. “It should be taken off the shelves. The head shop said it would be gone in June but people could die between now and June.”

The Government has passed new regulations which would ban the sale of a range of head shop substances from June. It includes Spice and BZP derivatives. Other products facing a ban include the products containing mephedrone, such as Wild Cat, and methylone, tapentodal – a painkiller-type drug, and a number of psychotropic substances.

The sale and possession of these substances will now be made illegal and subject to criminal sanctions under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

However, the anti-drugs group Eurad believes this is not enough and it is holding a protest outside the Dáil today calling for the banning of head shops.