05/02/2019

Black Market Drugs Trade Must End- SDLP

An SDLP MLA has called for an increased effort to close down the illegal sale of counterfeit Xanax on the black market in Northern Ireland.

Dolores Kelly's comments follow a statement from the coroner for Northern Ireland that the rising number of deaths linked to fake versions of the anti-anxiety drug Xanax is "an escalating crisis".

The powerful tranquilliser is not available on the NHS, but is used widely to treat anxiety and panic attacks.

Joe McCrisken said he is signing off a death related to the substance nearly once a week, most of which are occurring due to counterfeit versions.
News Image
Mrs Kelly, the SDLP's Policing and Justice Spokesperson said: "The abuse of prescription drugs is an area that must be tackled, but none more so than counterfeit products, such as fake Xanax, shipped in from far and wide, to be purchased for as little as £1 per tablet. It is extremely worrying to learn of children as young as 11 being treated in hospital after consuming counterfeit Xanax tablets purchased on the black market."

The Upper Bann MLA has arranged to meet the Assistant Chief Constables in March to raise the issue of the worrying development, and seek an update on the actions being taken to stop this practice and prevent such drugs from making their way onto the streets.

"It is imperative that those dealing the drug within our communities are brought to justice," she added.

SDLP Councillor and PSCP member Paul McCusker commented: "I have seen too many young lives lost as a result of the black market trading of these counterfeit Xanax. These products have become so easily available that children as young as 11 are able to get their hands on them.

"The abuse of any drug is frightening, but the consumption of a product that has travelled from as far as the Middle East and ended up on our streets in Belfast, with no trace or knowledge of the chemicals inside the drug, is something that all statutory agencies must actively work to put an end to."



(JG/CM)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

18 January 2019
Concern Over Rise In Drug & Alcohol Related Deaths
An SDLP MLA is urging members of the public to "wake up to the deadly dangers of drug and alcohol misuse" after a spate of deaths related to addiction in recent weeks. Mark Durkan's comments follow the publication of new official figures which show alcohol-related deaths are at a record high in Northern Ireland.
02 January 2019
Police Probe Drug Links To Four Deaths Over Christmas
Police are investigating whether a spate of deaths in Belfast over the Christmas period could be related to drug use. Four young people in their late teens to early 30's are reported to have died in the past two weeks, while more were admitted to emergency departments.
08 September 2015
Man Arrested In Connection With Steroids Seizure
A 33-year-old man has been arrested after police seized steroids, worth a potential street value of £30,000, from a property in L'Derry. The steroids were intercepted in England en route to an address in L'Derry.
25 May 2005
Illegal veterinary drugs seized in Co Down
Medicines Enforcement Officers have seized a substantial amount of illegal veterinary drugs during separate raids in Co Down on Wednesday.
18 May 2016
Man Charged Over £75,000 Drugs Seizure
A 31-year-old man has been charged following a £75,000 drugs seizure in east Belfast. The drugs were discovered at a property in the Belmount Road area on Tuesday, 17 May.