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Health chiefs warn over illegal prescription capsules

Potentially deadly prescription pills are circulating in Northern Ireland, the department of health has said.

Red and white capsules containing anti-anxiety medication pregabalin have been illegally manufactured for the black market.

Senior enforcement officer Peter Moore said: "Young people in particular may be unaware of the potentially fatal consequences of taking these drugs, particularly when taken with alcohol."

He said people should avoid illicit prescription medicines.

"Be in no doubt that medicines sourced in this way present a real danger to those taking them."

Professor Mike Mawhinney, head of the department's Medicines Regulatory Group, said: "The risk to the public due to illegal or counterfeit medicines is significant.

"This problem is not something we can tackle in isolation and the Medicines Regulatory Group is committed to working with other agencies to disrupt the supply of illegal medicines and will take every opportunity to raise public awareness around the dangers of using medicines from unregulated sources.

"I would urge the public to be vigilant and to avoid putting their health at risk by using medication from an illicit source. People should only take medicines in consultation with a healthcare professional who has access to patient health records."

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