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Inquest Dad urges Government to copy UK plans to ban laughing gas ahead of son's inquest

"If it was a Minister's child or in a Minister's constituency then something would be done about it."

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Mick Morrissey and Aine Ryan, suspect  'hippy crack' was a major contributory factor in their son, Alex Ryan Morrissey's tragic death

Mick Morrissey and Aine Ryan, suspect 'hippy crack' was a major contributory factor in their son, Alex Ryan Morrissey's tragic death

Mick Morrissey and Aine Ryan, suspect 'hippy crack' was a major contributory factor in their son, Alex Ryan Morrissey's tragic death

THE FATHER of a young man who died from a seizure involving nitrous oxide has called for Ireland to follow the UK in taking action to restrict the substance.

Dubliner Alex Ryan Morrissey (15) died on May 20 last year after he was found slumped over a wall in Ballycullen, Dublin.

His parents, Mick Morrissey and Aine Ryan from Tallaght, will attend an inquest into their son's death today.

Mick has already seen the coroner's report and confirms there was another substance in Alex's body besides nitrous oxide, which is commonly known as laughing gas or 'silver' or 'purple bullets'.

"I have the coroner's report and I know what they're going to say," Mick tells the Sunday World. "I know there was traces of other substances in his system which may have been stronger. I know what it is but I'm not saying yet what it is.

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Nitrous oxide canisters.

Nitrous oxide canisters.

Nitrous oxide canisters.

"Nobody knew anything about these things until I highlighted it. This thing [nitrous oxide] didn't help. It could have been a combination of both things. He was only a small little young fellow and obviously wasn't able to handle it."

The possession of nitrous oxide - also known as laughing gas - could be criminalised in the UK after British Home Secretary Priti Patel warned she was prepared to "take tough action" on its use among young people.

She has asked the independent Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) to review the effects of laughing gas, which is mostly taken through balloons filled from small metal cylinders.

In Britain it is believed that more than half a million 16 to 24-year-olds - almost one in 10 - reported taking nitrous oxide in 2019-2020. The gas is often taken at nightclubs and music festivals.

Used canisters can be seen scattered on streets across the country and can be purchased on the black market for as little as €2 to €5 each, giving a 'buzz' lasting around 30 seconds.

The Sunday World was able to buy several canisters online as they are used in the catering trade, usually to create foam in soup, sauces and desserts. They are also used in dentistry and medicine, as well as for pumping up bicycle tyres.

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When inhaled, nitrous oxide can make people feel euphoric and relaxed. It can cause some people to have hallucinations but the drug can slow down the brain and can cause serious injury and even death.

"I am hoping the Irish Government follow plans by the English government to ban this stuff," says Mick.

"She [Patel] wants it that they're not available to the general public.

"It's so easy to get them. I walked down the road a couple of days ago and myself and my wife picked one off the road.

"We even found one left standing up on our garden wall a few Sundays ago where I was going out to get the paper. We don't know whether someone left it there to torment us or who knows what they were thinking.

"But it's like talking to the wall, they don't care. It's like we are second class citizens. If you live in Foxrock or Cabinteely or somewhere like that and this happened, they might do something about it."

In June Drugs Minister Frank Feighan told the Sunday World that he is in touch with European authorities about restricting the sale of the substance to the general public.

"Things have to be done," said Mick. "Is nobody going to say anything, or is it going to be just pushed behind closed doors and nobody going to open their mouth about it?

"If it was a Minister's child or in a Minister's constituency then something would be done about it."

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