I'll fight to get dealers off our streets, says mum of tragic drug death teen Aaron Strong
A grief-stricken mother last night pledged to fight drug dealers all the way to stop death being peddled on the streets of Belfast.
Annmarie Strong (48) was speaking to the Belfast Telegraph following a vigil held outside her home in the Ballymurphy area on Sunday night. Her son Aaron (18) died after an accidental drugs overdose involving drugs including Lyrica and Tramadol.
Annmarie said she was heartened by the support from the community at the vigil which was held at Glenalina Road.
"Everybody spoke well about trying to get all these drugs that are killing our children off the streets," she said.
"It was heart-breaking. It is going to be at somebody else's door tomorrow, it is going to be somebody else's child tomorrow.
"It was heart-breaking but very supportive but it has given me a wee bit of hope that the community was behind me. The drugs are just everywhere, on these streets.
"I am going to fight this the whole way, I have to, to get the drugs off the streets because they are killing our kids.
"I will fight it the whole way because I have other kids growing up too. It is heart-breaking and the drug dealers are getting away with it. They are not taking them but they are selling our children poison." Aaron's funeral will be held tomorrow from Corpus Christi church and on to Milltown cemetery.
"I can hardly even speak," added Annmarie. "My poor child, I don't know how I am going to get him out of the house on Tuesday.
"I don't want to let him go and I wouldn't like to see another family sitting like that. Do you see sitting in intensive care for a week with my child, oh my God."
Aaron donated his organs, helping 11 people, something which Annmarie said gave her comfort.
Aaron's uncle Emmanuel Strong (54) said the community has to take a stand against drugs. He said: "At the end of the day something needs to be done. There are too many people getting destroyed, it is getting out of hand. I know we have lost a loved one here but we have to save other kids."
There were tears at the vigil and an emotional Annmarie was supported by her family.
Some wore special T-shirts featuring pictures of Aaron and others held candles.
Blue and white balloons were released.
"The balloons were coloured blue and white because it was blue for a boy as all my children are boys," said Annmarie.
At the vigil, which was attended by over 100 including many young people, there were strong anti-drugs messages.
Aaron Strong was rushed to the Royal Victoria Hospital in April after suffering a massive heart attack caused by drugs.
He had been drinking alcohol and had taken Tramadol, a post-operative painkiller, as well as a diabetes drug called Lyrica.
Paramedics revived Aaron at the scene but he was in a coma in intensive care for a number of days before he passed away last Wednesday.