Belfast Telegraph

£100,000 of illegal medicines seized in Northern Ireland

Worldwide crackdown on drugs led by Interpol

By Allan Preston

Illegally imported medicines worth more than £100,000 on the black market have been seized in Northern Ireland as part of an international policing operation.

Tens of thousands of pills bound for local addresses in multiple packages were intercepted, including 50,000 anabolic steroids, human growth hormones, diazepam, pregabalin, tramadol and erectile dysfunction medication.

The Interpol-led Operation Pangea took place between September 12-19 and involved 123 countries.

Peter Moore, Senior Medicines Enforcement Officer with the Department of Health, co-ordinated the operation in Northern Ireland.

"We urge the public not to be tempted by what look like cut prices or fooled by professional looking websites offering medicines without prescription," he said.

"Taking shortcuts and using these medicines could expose you to a dangerous counterfeit or substandard medicine and, additionally, you could also be the victim of identity theft or credit card fraud."

Worldwide, 400 people have been arrested as part of Operation Pangea, with 25 million potentially life-threatening medicines seized, worth an estimated £38m.

In addition, 3,854 websites engaged in illegal activity were shut down, as well as over 3,000 online adverts for illicit pharmaceuticals.

Yesterday, north Belfast SDLP councillor Paul McCusker called for greater support to tackle addiction and drug-related deaths in the city.

He said: "For over a year now, we have been calling for more resources to be made available to agencies dealing with addiction."

Mr McCusker said that PSNI figures released yesterday revealed 37 drug-related deaths in the last nine months, with the majority (19) in north Belfast.

"An urgent review is needed to look at the current provision and to ensure adequate support is put in place for those suffering from drug addictions," he said.

"This is an urgent priority for families and communities across the North. It must be made a political priority."

Belfast Telegraph

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