Kids used to drink cider to push themore boundaries.. but now it’s coke & ecstasy
Top doctor warns war on drugs ‘can’t be won’
TEENAGERS are getting hooked on dangerous and addictive drugs instead of alcohol, it’s been warned.
Children as young as 15 are arriving unconscious to hospitals in what a top doctor said is a war that “can’t be won”.
Dr Aisling Diamond added: “Kids used to take a bottle of cider to push the boundaries, now they’re taking cocaine and ecstasy.”
The Emergency Department consultant at the Mater Hospital in Belfast warned the frightening trend has been ongoing for two years but warned it is “getting worse”.
Police are currently investigating a high number of deaths linked to drugs in the city in just three weeks.
Dr Diamond said: “The age is falling and falling. My perception is that in this country people don’t realise how big an issue this is.
“They don’t seem to think it’s a problem but it’s a huge problem and it’s getting bigger.
“Ecstasy is the choice drug for younger people and they’re mixing that with prescription drugs, the likes of cocaine, and with alcohol.
“Years ago you had cider and you thought you were the king of the hill – that’s all out the window now.”
Dr Diamond, who also works at big concerts and events in Belfast, said teens are regularly being brought into intensive care over drug use. She said: “They’re usually unconscious. Temperatures are flying through the roof and they become very, very agitated.
“We are getting young people regularly on a weekly basis under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
“The patients I’ve dealt with have survived but quite a few have ended up in intensive care.
“Last weekend one 15-year-old was brought into intensive care.
“He had to spend the night in intensive care to stabilise him.”
The latest police figures show drugrelated arrests have increased by more than 16%. The figures are based on the 12 months to September 30, 2018.
They also state there were 6,771 narcotics seizures in the same period.
Dr Diamond said: “My gut feeling is we’re not going to win. The only thing we could maybe do is reduce the risk and reduce harms, but I don’t think we’re going to win.
“The drugs have got into the communities and they’ve gained so much traction that I don’t think we’re going to get rid of them.”
West Belfast youth worker Stephen Hughes said a new approach is necessary.
He added: “Society just sees them as little scumbags or hoods. But ultimately these people are harming themselves.
“We are not taking the risks needed to tackle drugs. Now it’s all about getting the police involved but we need to look beyond that.”
HUGE RISKS and more teens turn to drugs DANGEROUS Ecstasy tablets
CONCERNED Dr Aisling Diamond