New support group offers helping hand to parents of troubled teens

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PARENTS struggling to cope with children and teenagers who are addicted to drugs are being invited to come along to a series of ‘drop-in meetings’ in the Monkstown estate over the coming weeks.

Following the publication of last week’s front page story in the Newtownabbey Times about the living hell being faced by two Carnmoney women whose teenage sons are addicted to diazepam-based ‘Blues’ pills, a number of parents got together with PUP representative Phil Hamilton to set up a support group for local people who are going through similar problems.

The group held its first meeting at the Monkstown Outreach Project office on Monday evening (March 19), during which a number of parents shared their shocking experiences of trying to cope with out of control teens - some of whom have attempted suicide during bouts of depression when coming off the illegal drugs, which are being sold to kids for as little as 20 pence per pill.

One of the mothers who attended Monday’s meeting said that it had been a great help just to be able to sit and talk with other parents who are experiencing similar problems.

“We’re just getting the group up and running at the minute, but we’re hoping to set up our own email address and phone number so that parents who are going through a particularly hard time have someone to call and talk to. I think the group will be a great source of support for a lot of people,” she commented.

“We had five parents there on Monday night and we had apologies from a few other people who couldn’t make it,” Mr Hamilton explained. “But I’ve already received a lot of messages from other parents who are going through the same things wanting to know when the next meeting will be.”

The Rathcoole community worker added: “It was great to see the parents there sharing their experiences and supporting each other, and we want to encourage more people to come along to the next meetings when we will be inviting agencies such as Social Services, FASA and the PSNI along to talk to the parents and see what help and support they can offer them.”

It is understood the group plans to move to Ballyduff Community Centre when refurbishment of the facility is complete. But until then it will meet every Monday night at the Monkstown Outreach Project, Abbeytown Square between 7pm and 8pm.

For more information, email: phil.csdp@yahoo.co.uk