‘It could save a life’

Training for concerned members of the public on the dangers of drugs “could save a life”, according to a police officer who is part of a specialist crime team in the town.

The course, to be offered by Limavady District Policing Partnership, follows the death of Ryan McElwee in the town last year. The 17 year-old is believed to have died after taking drugs.

The move also follows shocking revelations by the ‘Journal’ that children as young as 12 in the town are being paid up to £20 and £30 to run drugs.

Manager of Limavady DPP, Linda McKee, said feedback received from residents during the body’s year-long consultation highlighted the need for training on legal highs.

“They want to know what is legal and what is not. They want to know what these drugs look like and how they are taken. People also want to know what to look out for, the signs and symptoms of those taking these drugs and how young people will be affected,” she said.

The supply and use of mephedrone in the borough has “stabilised more than anything” while MDAI, or Sparkle as it is known, seems to be the “drug of choice”, said the PSNI officer.

“You can buy it over the internet for your own use. It’s sheer madness because it’s probably killing you,” he said.

Urging friends, parents, family members or “anyone with any sway over drug users” to avail of the free course, the officer made a plea.

“It could save a life and, at the end of the day, that is what our job is about; saving people from destroying their lives.”

DPP member, SDLP councillor Michael Coyle, welcomed the move.

“This will provide the opportunity to detect the symptoms of those using drugs that may not be obvious. It is also a welcome fact that the PSNI are taking the whole drugs scene seriously, resulting in many seizures and taking dangerous drugs off the streets.”

Rebecca Roberts from Synergize NI will facilitate the training at the Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre on January 28. “There will also be an opportunity at the end of the training and over lunch to meet and talk with local police who are tackling the drug supply trade,” added Ms McKee.

For information, email dpp@limavady.gov.uk or call 028 777 60314.