Teach na Failte, the Republican Socialist ex Prisoners support group, tonight (6th May) hosted an immensely successful drugs awareness evening in the White rock community centre in West Belfast.
The event was hosted in the wake of the latest tragic drugs related death which took the life of a well respected youth in the Upper Springfield area only last week.
The meeting was attended by many local parents and concerned citizens and was chaired by former IRSM prisoner Gerard Foster who introduced local Pharmacist Dr Terry Maguire who did a great job in explaining to those in attendance the chemical make up, the origin and the many dangerous physical and mental effects associated with currently circulating street drugs (including prescription drugs) being accessed by youths in West Belfast and beyond.
Local community worker Margaret Walker who herself has in the past suffered family bereavement due to the abuse of drugs gave a great account of the nature of addiction, why it is prevalent within working class communities, as well as advice on how to spot the signs of both drug abuse and related suicidal ideations within young relatives or children
Following the meeting, a frank and open debate was held between all those in attendance, around the issue of tackling the drugs problem in general in West Belfast, with helpful and constructive contributions being made by many local people, including local IRSP activists, Sinn Féin Cllr Stephen Corr and Springhill Community Worker Tommy Holland.