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Thirteen year olds hooked on prescription drugs

By Paul Ainsworth

CHILDREN as young as 13 are becoming hooked on potentially lethal prescription drugs in the Markets area, a local community worker has said.

The claims come after a quantity of pills was recovered in an alley off Upper Stanfield Street at the weekend.

A shocked resident stumbled upon the bag of pills, believed to be prescription anti-depressants, and handed them over to staff at the Markets Development Association (MDA).

The haul is testament to an ongoing problem across the city in which prescription pills are replacing “traditional” illegal substances as the drug of choice for recreational users.

However, young teenagers who are taking the drugs, often mixing them with alcohol, are risking their lives for a high, while others are being forced to seek help over their use.

Niall Houston of the MDA said the anti-depressants included Tramadol, which they were aware were being used recreationally.

The community worker also claimed some teens were able to access the drugs from their own parents before seeking them on the street.

“Some grow up seeing their parents using these for years and years, and can get a hold of them. We’ve seen children as young as 13 being referred for help when their use becomes too much. Some will take them at the weekend, and they can go crazy with them, but come Monday or Tuesday, some are feeling so low due to effects wearing off they have expressed suicidal thoughts.

“We work in referring those who need help to medical care, but often it’s beyond our skill to help, such is the problem. It’s truly frightening when you realise just how young some of these users are who are risking their lives for a cheap thrill.”

Mr Houston added that the MDA believed the pills could have been ready for sale before being discovered, and said the group were destroying them after identification.



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