Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Drug danger awareness is crucial

The death of the DJ Gerard Mulholland is a further indication of the extreme danger of taking drugs. His distraught family has made a heartfelt plea to others not to take illegal substances, while the police and local politicians have urged anyone who possesses illegal drugs to get rid of them immediately.

Time and again this newspaper has revealed that over the past ten years or so, around 1,000 people have died from drugs, including prescription drugs.

The taking of drugs, in many cases for "recreation" is an extremely dangerous development, especially when people are not clear about what they are putting into their body.

Our reports today reveal how a person can literally "boil" from the inside after taking ecstasy, and this has the potential for a ghastly and life-destroying result, as Mr Mulholland's family has pointed out.

Earlier this year, there were eight deaths which were thought to be due to the consumption of "bad ecstasy", which was believed to have been supplied by paramilitaries or their associates in east Belfast. Unfortunately, the exact causes of those deaths have not been confirmed as yet. This is partly due to the regrettably long wait for forensic tests, but this kind of information needs to be revealed much more quickly so that people can know the facts. This in itself may help to cut down the dreadful death toll due to the consumption of drugs.

The Health Minister Edwin Poots has strongly reminded us of the dangers, and he has declared bluntly that the majority of the people living in Northern Ireland are living "in blissful ignorance" about the scale of the drugs problem in our midst.

To add to the human tragedies involved, there is no consolation in being told that the "Speckled Rolex", which is thought to have led to Gerard Mulholland's, death is a particular version of ecstasy which can be bought for as little £2.50.

Clearly, there is a need for much greater awareness of the drug problem, and a determination from everyone , and not least parents and guardians of young people, to stamp this out.

Mr Mulholland's untimely death is a tragic reminder of how dangerous these so-called "recreational" drugs can be. To counter this, information and transparency are vital. Young people, and people of all ages, must continually be reminded of the dangers, before it is too late.

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