Prescription medication being sold to dealers to pay off illegal drug debts

Members of the Listening Ear group at Cloughfern Protestant Hall.
Members of the Listening Ear group at Cloughfern Protestant Hall.

A local support group has heard how hard up families are selling their prescribed drugs to alleviate poverty.

The ‘Listening Ear’ project, funded through Co-operation Ireland’s LEGaSi programme, meets every Wednesday night from 7pm at Cloughfern Protestant Hall in Newtownabbey.

The group was set up to help people develop mechanisms of coping when a friend of loved one is battling addiction.

At their meeting on September 26, drugs counsellor Daphne Logue explained how to recognise substances and discussed the growing problem of prescription drug abuse.

Members heard how drug dealers were pressuring the parents of users to pay their drug debts, and offering people with legitimate medical conditions an opportunity to sell their prescribed drugs for extra cash.

Mental health issues were also discussed, with the group hearing that the parents of disabled children who suffer with depression and anxiety are not seeking help lest they be deemed incapable of looking after their children.

Brian Kerr from the LEGaSi group said: “Listening Ear is about learning more about the problems our community faces and developing skills so that if someone decides they want to stop taking drugs or need help with mental health problems, we can assist them in getting the help they need.”

Dr Alan Largey from Co-operation Ireland said: “Supporting grass roots programmes like this is central to the success of the LEGaSI project and I am pleased that we are helping to establish community networks that when fully developed will benefit everyone in society.”