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Matthew Drumm took own life after using drugs on night out, now his family want to warn others over the dangers

By Cate McCurry

Published 21/01/2016

Matthew Drumm
Matthew Drumm
Matthew's brother Kieran

The family of a Co Tyrone student who took his own life after using drugs while celebrating his exam results has issued a stark warning over the dangers of substance abuse.

Matthew Drumm was on a night out with friends in Belfast when he took an illegal substance. He took his own life four days later on Christmas Eve, 2013.

The 22-year-old GAA player's family believe he was suffering the effects of a deadly come-down when he died.

The Killyclogher man saved the lives of seven people after his parents donated his heart, lungs, liver, pancreas and kidneys - something the Jordanstown student had said he wanted to do should he pass away.

Now, three years on, the Drumm family are hosting a fundraiser and will donate all proceeds to Northern Ireland Transplant.

The event has been scheduled for May 21 and will include a 60-mile cycle, a 10K run and a 5K walk in the Omagh area.

Matthew's brother, Kieran (39) said it has taken his family a long time to come to terms with their youngest sibling's death.

"He passed his secondary exams and went out with his mates. They took stuff they shouldn't have taken, woke up the next day and he couldn't hack the come-down and took his own life," he explained. "Matthew wasn't suffering from depression, he wasn't troubled. His friends said they were celebrating and all tried it, and whatever way it affected Matthew was too much for him. He was supposed to go to work that evening, but he never went in."

Matthew was studying hotel management at the University of Ulster business school and working part-time at the Europa Hotel.

The young student had been making Christmas plans with his parents Ann and Sean and sisters Karen, Katrina and Lee-Ann.

Kieran said he decided to organise the fundraiser on the second anniversary of his death.

"When he was a teenager he told my mum that if anything ever happened him he wanted his organs donated. But we didn't realise it would happen so soon. She remembered that, and that's how it all happened," he added.

"On Christmas Eve seven people would have got the best Christmas present of their lives. Mum and dad get letters on how the donors are doing, which we love to read, and while it's hard to take, knowing he gave seven people new lives is a comfort to us. Another charity we are giving to is the Tara Centre in Omagh, which has been brilliant to my parents.

"We only started the fundraising event a few weeks ago and the response has been overwhelming. Everyone is sending us plenty of messages saying they want to take part.

"After his death we issued a warning to the young ones about the dangers of taking substances because Matthew got into the fast lane and didn't get out of it in time. Matthew wasn't depressed, he had plans made for the following week, and was to go on holidays the following year.

"He was the youngest of five of us, so he was well-looked after and was spoiled rotten, he was my mum's baby. We talk about it and we try our best to get on with it."

For more information about the event search Miles for Matty on Facebook.

  • If you are affected by any of the issues in this article, contact Lifeline on 0808 8088 000 or the Samaritans on 08457909090.

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