Brazen drug dealer uses Facebook to sell killer tablets to teens
Vulnerable young teenagers across Northern Ireland are being openly targeted by an online drug dealer.
Kids as young as 13 have been offered stolen prescription drugs by the Facebook yob.
The dealer, who was posing as a young female hairdresser, was openly approaching youngsters and offering them 1,000 Diazepam tablets for £100.
Photographs of more than 100 boxes of the prescription drug were posted on the seller's Facebook site earlier this week.
Scores of teenagers from across Belfast and Londonderry, some of whom are still at school, were then tagged in the photograph and asked to message the woman to arrange a deal. When the Belfast Telegraph attempted to contact the dealer, the Facebook page was removed.
West Belfast councillor Tim Attwood said he was deeply concerned that such a person was able to operate so openly.
He added there was a major problem with prescription drug misuse across the city.
"I am shocked at how openly this dealer is able to operate and at how easily available drugs like these are," the SDLP man said.
"There is a very real problem with dependency and misuse of prescription drugs across Belfast, and I don't think there are enough resources to help deal with it."
Mr Attwood warned that another prescription drug, Pregabalin, which is a strong pain killer, was currently being sold illegally in the city and was causing major health concerns.
"I was talking to a youth worker on the Lower Falls and he told me that this drug is being sold on and it is being cut up and the young people are then sniffing it," he said "It is having a huge impact. The downer is so much worse than the high.
"GPs, youth workers and communities see the damage being caused to individuals after recreational abuse of these powerful drugs. There have been robberies of pharmacies and prescribed drugs are being sold on. It is a frightening situation."
Last year, 88 people died as a result of drug abuse, according to official statistics. This was the highest level in a decade.
In 2004, 17 people died as a result of drug abuse. That figure has been growing each year.
The killer drugs included illegal ones such as heroin and cocaine, and prescription medicines like sedatives and anti-depressants also covered by the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
Figures show that prescription medicines were mentioned on more death certificates than anything else, by a wide margin.
Last year, of all drug-related deaths, Diazepam was mentioned on 42 death certificates.