'Don't die like our Danielle'
Ecstasy victim's sister in plea to teenager's friends
Published 09/10/2007 | 07:12
A priest officiating at the funeral of a Co Londonderry teenager who died after taking ecstasy has asked young mourners to 'give up' the person who supplied her with the deadly drug.
Ballykelly girl Danielle Gibbens (19) died early on Friday morning after collapsing at a house party in Limavady.
She suffered a massive heart attack which her family believes was the result of her having taken one or more ecstasy tablets.
Her parents Mary Gibbens and Joe McCloskey, sister Nikki and brother Paul were said to be "devastated" and were too distressed to talk.
Her death comes four years after that of Bellarena boy Jason Brolly, who was also from the Limavady area.
He was 16 when he died after taking ecstasy and his family later released photos of the lad in his coffin to warn others about the dangers of drugs.
In his homily at the teenage girl's funeral at St Finlough's Church yesterday, Father Stephen Kearney pleaded with young mourners to turn in the dealer who stole their friend's life.
"I told them that somebody here knows who supplied the drugs, someone has that responsibility and that they owe it to Danielle and her family to do something about that responsibility," he said.
"It won't bring Danielle back but it could save the life of another youngster and if that person or persons don't have the courage or the know-how to go to the police, then I am willing to act as a go-between.
"There are other people, teachers, community workers and people from all walks of life who would consider it a privilege to take that information to the relevant authorities and help bring to justice the people who deal in death and human suffering.
"These people are using death and addiction to make themselves millionaires and it must stop. Young people have to realise that there is no such thing as a simple, one-off recreational drug."
A police spokesman said the teenager died after the Ambulance Service received a call to a house at Benevenagh Drive, Limavady in the early hours of Friday, where she had collapsed.
Danielle was taken to hospital where she died some hours later.
Police are awaiting the results of toxicology tests.
Ecstasy: The deadly dangers
What is ecstasy?
Chemically known as MDMA, ecstasy is an illegal recreational drug which is usually sold in pill form. It causes an increased awareness of the senses - feelings of openness, euphoria, empathy, love, heightened self-awareness, mental clarity and an increased appreciation of music and movement. It takes effect within 30-60 minutes and lasts four to six hours.
What does it do to your body?
Ecstasy increases heart rate and blood pressure - a special risk for people with circulatory problems or heart disease. Other effects include muscle tension, involuntary teeth clenching, nausea, blurred vision, faintness and chills or sweating.
How does it kill?
In high doses, ecstasy interferes with the body's ability to regulate temperature. This can lead to a sharp increase in body temperature - resulting in liver, kidney, and cardiovascular system failure. There have also been cases of death from drinking too much water to counteract the dehydration.
What other consequences are there?
Confusion, depression, sleep problems, drug craving and severe anxiety can result while on the drug and sometimes days or weeks later.