Cocaine addict: ‘I tried to take my own life after building up €20k debt'

Conor Harris was 17 years old when he first tried the drug.
Robert Kindregan
Robert Kindregan

12.02 7 Feb 2024

Share this article

Cocaine addict: ‘I tried to ta...

Cocaine addict: ‘I tried to take my own life after building up €20k debt'

Robert Kindregan
Robert Kindregan

12.02 7 Feb 2024

Share this article

A former cocaine addict has described how he tried to take his own life after building up €20,000 in drug debt.

Conor Harris was 17 years old when he first tried the drug.

He had been a promising young footballer who represented youth teams with Kildare GAA throughout his childhood.


On The Pat Kenny Show today, Conor said his life began to spiral out of control from the moment he first took cocaine.

“A friend of mine offered it to me and I said no at first because I was still playing with Kildare at the time and I dreamed of playing in Croke Park,” he said.

“I ended up picking it up the second time he asked me and I always describe how it felt for me when I first took it - it was like falling in love with a woman.

“I had dealt with mental health a lot when I was younger and ran from reality a lot so this was the soothing I needed.”

Leaving Cert

He was still a fifth-year student at the time and continued using increasing amounts of cocaine for the remainder of his second-level education.

“By the end of sixth year, I was using through the Leaving Cert,” said Conor.

“I remember sitting my maths exam and I was only wearing a shirt with two sweat patches on me after using a lot of cocaine before going in.

“As soon as the half-hour finished when you could sign the sheet to leave, I was gone to the SuperValu where we all hung out."


Conor had his first overdose the October following his exams, after his cocaine use had become an almost daily occurrence.

“This was only at the age of 18 and that was when my family found out I had been taking drugs and selling drugs,” he said.

“After that overdose, I woke up in hospital and my mother and sister were at the end of the bed.

“I promised them I would never use again - and I believed I’d never use again - but if you’re an addict of my type you don’t get a choice.”

rural drug use Lines of cocaine are being made. Image: Riccardo Ceccherini / Alamy Stock Photo

Conor’s rehabilitation wasn’t to last and he soon built up large debts as he continued drug dealing to fund his habit.

“There were bank loans, credit union loans, family loans,” he said.

“People were really good to me and trusted me that I wouldn’t use again but I was a manipulative drug addict who would have done anything for a fix.

“Even though I owed money I always went face to face with people and told them the situation and I was lucky enough that I was never harmed.”

Suicide attempt

Things came to a head for Conor on Mother’s Day in 2019 when he tried to take his own life.

“Fortunately enough, someone came along and saved my life,” he said.

“That’s where my drug addiction ended up and that’s where it finished.”

Conor received treatment at an addiction centre and has never touched cocaine or alcohol since, he now has a full-time job and gives talks at GAA clubs around the country, warning young people against using cocaine.

Readily available

37-year-old Sean Bryan told Pat that he began using the drug heavily while working as a DJ in Dublin.

“I DJ’d all over clubs and places in the city, festivals too, and it just kind of went hand in hand with drink," he said.

“How I would describe it as it’s like being offered a cigarette – people would ask you if you wanted a bump like they would a cigarette.

It was so normalised that I didn’t think I had a problem with it, I wasn’t taking it daily it was every weekend.”


Sean decided to knock the problem on its head after it began to affect his day-to-day life.

“I wouldn’t be on social media; I’d miss family events and people would see my habits were changing as I wasn’t around on a Sunday or Monday,” he said.

“I couldn’t commit to things and you couldn’t rely on me.

“Enough became enough and I sought professional help from a therapist.”

Sean warned others against using the drug as you “literally don’t know what you're taking” when you buy it.

If you or someone you know is impacted by any of the issues discussed in this article, you can contact Samaritans 24 hours a day for confidential support on 116 123.

You can listen back here:

Main image: Sean Bryan, Pat Kenny and Conor Harris (R-L) pictured in the Newstalk studio today. Image: Newstalk

Share this article

Read more about

Addiction Alcohol Cigarettes Cocaine Conor Harris Recovery Sean Bryan Suicide The Pat Kenny Show

Most Popular