A Derry man has spoken for the first time of his “six months of hell” after becoming addicted to prescribed medication.
The man, who wished to be known only as Darren, says he was first prescribed the drug Pregabalin to treat sciatica.
But he says he quickly became dependant on the drug, which is also commonly prescribed to control epilepsy, and treat anxiety and nerve pain. After seeking professional help to overcome that dependence Darren says he is now alarmed that people in Derry are taking the same drug recreationally.
“People need to know about the dangers of these tablets, they are not something you can just take and leave,” he told the ‘Journal’.
“The withdrawal is unbelievable. I spent six months trying to come off it but a year later still suffering, every nerve in my body twitches, I can’t sleep and barely eat. I’m still taking 6 to eight painkillers each and every day just to deal with the withdrawal symptoms.
“It has left me severely depressed and at times suicidal,” he says.
Darren says he knows the same drug is being sold on the streets of Derry for recreational use.
“People are buying it on the streets, say a box of 56 tablets for as little as £30 because when you take it there is a euphoric effect, a happy feeling. You have absolutely no fear. People need to know that this is happening, and it needs to stop. The comedown is unbelievable. It’s only a matter of time before there is a tragedy because of this drug,” he says.
Derry drug support group HURT say prescription drug abuse is on the rise and is something that should cause great concern.
The latest drug abuse warning comes only weeks after the Clarendon Street substance abuse charity warned about a new illicit drug known as B2, currently being used in Derry.
HURT’s Sadie O’Reilly said: “This is the most potent, dangerous and worrying drug I’ve encountered in 11 years in this sector. That’s not just my own opinion but of those using it.
“My fear is we are going to see tragedies soon due to this drug. Our advice is to stay away from it,” she told the ‘Journal.’
You can contact HURT on 71 369696.