A batch of a potentially lethal cocaine-based drug has been found days after a young man died following a suspected overdose.
The drug, a type of ‘freebase’ cocaine sold under the street name ‘Magic’, is being blamed for an increase in the number of people being hospitalised in recent weeks.
The find comes as the family of Stephen Boyd (21), who died at a house party in Twinbrook, on the outskirts of of west Belfast, warned other young people about the dangers of taking drugs.
“We just want answers. We want to know who he was with and what exactly it was he took,” his aunt Paula Boyd said last night.
Police are investigating Mr Boyd’s death. A 32-year-old man arrested on suspicion of possessing and supplying a class-A drug has been freed on bail.
Mrs Boyd said her nephew had been babysitting his 12-year-old sister at their Kerrykeel Gardens home until about 1.30am on Saturday when he went to see friends at a nearby house.
He then went to a house party in Twinbrook with another young man. It was there that he collapsed.
The family understand that Mr Boyd had “taken something” at the property in Cherry Close.
Mrs Boyd said details of what happened were “still very sketchy”.
However, she said: “Police told us he had drugs in his system.
“He collapsed at the party. His friends say he took a fit and they took him out the back and tried to bring him round and cool him down. They rang an ambulance because they knew he wasn’t good.”
The Lenadoon man celebrated his 21st birthday three weeks ago.
Mrs Boyd said Stephen’s younger brother and sister were devastated.
She said the loss was particularly tragic as it followed the death of the children’s mother four years ago.
“Stephen was a good kid. He never brought any trouble to the door. He was very, very outgoing and, as the eldest, was responsible,” she said.
“He was an all-Ireland champion boxer and had worked in the Whitefort and in the Balmoral Hotel.”
Mrs Boyd urged young people to consider the risk posed by drugs.
“We want other kids to be aware that they don’t know what they’re taking – they don’t know what’s in it. We don’t want another family to have the same tragedy,” she said.
By Maeve Connolly and Allison Morris
September 17, 2009
The Irish Times