Drug peddlers dealing in death
Every person who has ever dabbled in drugs should read our heartbreaking report today on the death of 18-year-old Tyrone girl, Alice Devlin. A young girl who had everything to live for, died because she took one illicit tablet costing no more than the price of a pint of beer.
It contained a lethal cocktail of stimulants, and similar pills have been linked to at least 19 other deaths across Northern Ireland.
As the coroner John Leckey pertinently pointed out, anyone taking these pills, known as speckled cherries, is playing Russian roulette with their lives.
There is no way of knowing what they contain or in what concentration. Alice may have sought a high on that fateful night, but her action has left her family experiencing lows for the rest of their lives as they mourn the beautiful girl.
Those who deal in drugs, selling them to impressionable or gullible teens, care not for the consequences. They simply yearn for the profit their illegal and deadly trade brings in.
They know they are peddling death, but still they do it. Little wonder that Mr Leckey has urged prosecutors to consider charging drug dealers with manslaughter if deaths result from the pills they push.
There should be no hiding place for these evil people for whom money means more than life itself. Yet, although there are strong suspicions over who was responsible for selling the drugs which ended Alice's life, police have been unable to get the firm evidence needed to bring the dealers to justice.
Those with information should not shirk from doing their duty. If they witnessed someone stabbing, shooting or beating a person to death they would feel that they should tell the authorities the identity of the culprit. Selling drugs can be just as deadly. Anyone who buys even one pill from these heartless criminals could be putting their own lives in jeopardy.
These pills are not harmless stimulants, but potentially lethal poison. The message is clear, don't gamble with your life.