The mother of an 18-year-old who died after taking a cocktail of prescription drugs has spoken out against the illegal trade in such narcotics.
Ann-Marie Strong said that those who deal such substances should be “wiped out”, and urged other youngsters to think twice before trying any medication of that kind.
Speaking on BBC Good Morning Ulster on Monday, she described how Aaron died last month after six days in intensive care.
She said that he had gone into cardiac arrest after taking the drugs tramadol, lyrica and diazepam, as well as alcohol.
“They fought to keep my child alive for a week,” she said. “But he was brain-dead.”
He was on life-support for six days, and that her hope had been for Aaron to open his eyes so she could tell him that she loved him, but he did not.
During his period in intensive care, she said she had brought “his wee friends down to let them see [him] in intensive care ... please kids – stop. One tablet, and that’s you gone.”
She added: “Those drug dealers are just murdering. Because they’re killing our kids. They need wiped right out of this country ... My poor child is gone and there’s going to be a lot of other kids gone.”
She added: “Everybody loved him – everybody,” adding that he had worked as a mechanic for two years.
His uncle Emmanuel Strong said that he had been involved with those substances for just a couple of weeks before he died.
The PSNI said that since the beginning of April, more than 15 properties had been raided in west Belfast, and 10 arrests had been made.