TWO local women have made an impassioned plea for more help and support to be made available for families struggling to deal with children and teenagers who are addicted to drugs.
The women, who didn’t want to be identified due to a fear of reprisals from the ruthless dealers who have been supplying illegal drugs to their teenage sons, say ‘Blues’ and ‘Whites’ pills are a major problem in the Carnmoney area, with boys and girls as young as 12 and 13 years old taking up to 30 or 40 pills a day.
The potentially deadly tablets, which are being sold to children and young people for as little as 20 pence each, are mostly diazepam-based, but often mixed with other drugs.
Over the past couple of years, Sarah and Cathy (not their real names) have been living a nightmare due to problems being caused by their drug-addicted sons, who regularly hang around with a crowd in Carnmoney, getting “wiped out” on ‘Blues’, so-called legal highs and other drugs.
The women, who both have other children to look after, told the Times how they are worried sick, driving around the streets at nights trying to find their sons who are ‘off their heads’ on drugs and sometimes unable to stand or even talk.
They explained how their boys have fallen into a downward spiral of mental and physical ill health, had regular run-ins with the police and have become increasingly aggressive and out of control. The troubled teenagers have gone through periods of depression when coming off the drugs, and both have attempted suicide.
Sarah and Cathy have even gone to the extreme measure of getting their sons arrested and denying them a bail address so that they get sent to the Woodlands Juvenile Justice Centre near Bangor where they can get looked after by trained staff, receive counselling and be checked on 24/7. They say they’ve been forced to use Woodlands as a sort ‘rehab centre’ for their sons, given the lack of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in Northern Ireland.
“We’ve been everywhere trying to get help for them, but this is the end of the road. It’s come to the stage where we’re having to get them arrested and get them into more trouble with the police and get them more of a criminal record just to get them some help,” said Sarah, whose son has been taking ‘Blues’ since he was 14.
“People need to know what’s going on. People need to understand that this is a problem in this area (Carnmoney) and that it’s really bad in this area.”
With no-one else to turn to and fearing that it’s only a matter of time before the drugs claim a child’s life, the women are now considering setting up a support group for local families who are suffering similar problems, so that they can share their experiences and help each other.
“It’s got to the stage where there’s nothing here, there’s no-one to help us, but one of these kids is going to die. I’ve even had visions of my son lying in the living room in a coffin,” Cathy added.
“We want to highlight what’s going on here and we want to help other people, but we need help and support too. We’re trying to deal with the issue, inside the house and outside of the house in the area, but we can’t do it on our own.”
Read the full story in this week’s Times...