In early January six young people were hospitalised after taking the synthetic drug known as 2C-B, at a house party in Cork City. Gerard Banks and his friend were walking by the house when they heard “crazy noises” and “not your average shouting” from inside. Speaking on Cork’s Red FM he said that “it’s hard to describe the levels of blood” in the house when he entered.
Inside the house he was met with a harrowing sight. He saw both a man and woman naked and covered in blood. They were dancing and it was obvious that they were completely out of their mind as they had no idea they were covered in blood or hurt. The male had an apparent head injury and was badly cut. On the floor he saw another man, he was not moving and appeared to be in cardiac arrest. The Gardaí were called along with paramedics and the injured were taken to Cork University hospital.
Six young people had their lives ahead of them. They were having a good time at a party, until the effects of the drug 2C-B kicked in. Their families were surely traumatised and they could have very easily died.
The USI are concerned for the health of students after the HSE have put out a public warning concerning the “scary party drug” 2C-B. The HSE says the drug is: “One of the new psychoactive substances similar to those products previously sold in ‘headshops’”. At low doses the stimulant has similar effects to ecstasy but at higher dosages can have psychedelic or hallucinogenic effects.
People are warned that there is no quality control on these drugs and that there is no way of checking what is purchased or consumed is the intended substance. Dr. Greg Murphy of the Rochestown Clinic in Cork said: “There is not a lot known about it in this country but it has arrived. It is a street drug which has potent effect. It peaks after five to ten hours but it can last for up to 24 hours.”
Research is ongoing on the drug 2C-B, but the known serious side effects are both psychological and physical. Possible effects include paranoia, hallucinations (both auditory and visual) gastrointestinal effects and kidney problems. Similar to MDMA, many users overheat due to an inability to control their own body temperature.
Talking about the drug, Kevin Donoghue, USI president said: “We need to ensure that young people are being educated on the risks in a way that is relative to them. The ‘just say no’ campaign simply doesn’t work. Young people don’t connect with it.”
Donoghue says it needs to be acknowledged that drug use is happening among students.
According to the 2015 National Student Drug Survey, 82 percent of students have at some point used illegal drugs, and Donoghue believes that the key to keeping students safe, is awareness education.