New drive is needed against drug scourge
Once again the tragedy of drugs makes the headlines. This time it is the story of young Cookstown woman Amy Reid, who died on the eve of her 22nd birthday.
Instead of holding a party, her family have had to attend her funeral, during which they asked their priest to make a heartfelt plea that no other deaths should occur in such circumstances.
The use of drugs by their children is every parent's nightmare, and young Amy's untimely death is further proof of the heartache they can create.
Amy was known for her kind-heartedness and for a life full of promise. Tragically, she is now gone.
In former times it was alcohol that was chosen for use and also abuse by the young and the not so young.
However, all that has changed, and there seems to be a desire for something more daring and illicit, for some substance that promises a totally new and almost "magical" experience.
Sadly, however, this turns out to be all too illusory, and its victims can end up seriously ill or dead.
Once a person goes down that road, it is so often hard to steer them away from the final tragedy.
There are many complex reasons for the proliferation of dangerous drugs. Their greater availability and falling prices provide a deadly combination.
The path to tragedy begins virtually the first time a person experiments with a new drug.
Some become hooked quickly, while others can dabble for some time. Sadly, when parents or friends discover the problem it is often too late to do anything about it.
It is inspiring that, in their grief, Amy's family found the strength to send out a warning to others.
By far the best deterrent is one of zero tolerance.
In the Eighties people grew up with the challenging message "Just Say No". It was a universal cry against entering the dark wastelands which such substances produce. The soundtrack even ended up on Top Of The Pops.
Sadly, however, many people ask if there is a similarly strong message today, and if not - why not?
New warnings are continually issued as the drug problem grows, but perhaps the establishment of a coherent and determined campaign to highlight the risks and to save lives is the best way to honour the memory of Amy, and so many young people like her.