Belfast Telegraph

PIPs man calls for law on internet

North Belfast PIPS Programme Director Philip McTaggart is joining with North Antrim MP Ian Paisley Jnr to push for websites that tell people how to commit suicide to be shut down.



Philip McTaggart has this week spoken out against the international prescription drugs trade after a Co. Down man overdosed on Tramadol — a strong pain reliever — bought over the internet from Egypt.

Mr McTaggart said the incident where Matthew Davidson took his own life using medicines bought across the internet was “a tragic case”.

The 26 year old Aspergers sufferer took his own life using Tramadol after attempting to do the same with medicine prescribed in Northern Ireland.

He said that he and Ian Paisley Jnr were to meet to discuss the issue of websites telling people how they can commit suicide. Mr Paisley plans to make a proposal on the issue in Westminster |shortly.

Mr McTaggart said: “Anyone can set up a website with misinformation, or destructive information on it.

“There are people who are not qualified, or professional giving people information and it can do a lot more damage than good.

“The information on the internet should be correct, up to date and not destructive, and nor should people be able to buy drugs that must be prescribed here freely off foreign websites.”

He said: “We’re aware that young and older people will go on the internet.

“The sad thing is it takes a loss of life for people to do something about the problem.”

He said he would like to see more regulation on the internet to counter people’s ability to buy prescription drugs without prescription from foreign sellers.

“I would like to see a regulator — I know it’s not easy to do — but someone needs to regulate these sites.

“It’s not just drugs either, there are people being duped on the interent when they try to buy cars, or homes, or insurance.

“There needs to be a stamp of approval, something official that says this is a real website and it is a legal website.

“It shouldn’t be allowed that people can just set up a website and sell drugs on it.

“I can accept that there is legislation here and it works well but it is foreign websites that are the problem.

“This man who sold the distressed young man Matthew drugs over the internet did not care who he was giving the drugs to. He only cared that he was making money, and now apparently there is an arrest warrant for him, but how are they going to find him? He is one man in thousands and he will be able to set up another website.

“There was one case I heard of where a website selling drugs was shut down and within 15 minutes another was set up by the same person.”

He added: “PIPS is working with the Protect Life Strategy to try to do something about this issue.”

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