Get drugs out of our community

Drugs handed into the Mid Ulster Mail by concerned parents in Cookstown.
Drugs handed into the Mid Ulster Mail by concerned parents in Cookstown.

POLICE in Cookstown will continue their work in targeting people who are introducing illegal drugs into communities.

The warning comes after a bag containing a drug, very similar in appearance to crystallised methadone, was handed in to the MAIL office by two concerned residents of a Cookstown housing estate last Wednesday (June 12).

The bag which was forcibly removed the previous Saturday night from a group of young people congregating around a popular bonfire site, was immediately passed on to police for further analysis.

And concerns have now been raised by the residents of this estate who say that illegal drug use in the area has become prevalent in recent years.

“Drugs have been a problem this while,” said the concerned resident. “And we know drugs are widely available here.”

The resident believes the drug was for personal use, to be shared among three or four teenagers and young people, who were in the presence of children, some as young as six or seven-years-old.

“The estate has been plagued by drugs for years now. We’re dead against this kind of thing,” added the resident. “We just want to see something done because we don’t want drugs around children.”

Area Commander, Chief Inspector Jane Humphries said the PSNI is more than happy to talk to residents’ groups who want to educate and familiarise themselves with drugs.

“They are more than welcome to contact the PSNI. And of course there are organisations out there like Breakthru and TIPSA that they can get in touch with, in case they don’t want to go to the police,” she told the MAIL.

“We do want to offer our help because bringing someone through the courts often isn’t the answer as there are other issues involved that need to be addressed.”

Chief Inspector Humphries said police would urge anyone who has knowledge of illegal drugs circulating to contact them immediately.

“Police are working to eradicate the threat posed by illegal drugs on our streets and to our young people. We will continue to actively target those who bring drugs into our community. Enforcement, however, is only one part of the solution. Educating our young people about the dangers of drugs and the consequences is also essential,” she said.

The Chief Inspector said the PSNI delivers its CASE programme in schools as well as working in partnership with youth and community organisations to educate and offer support.

She said the community has expressed a desire to see police tackle drugs activity and added that the PSNI will continue to deliver on these issues.

Project co-ordinator at TIPSA (Teens Involved In Protecting Selves Around Alcohol) Eugene O’Goan said he is keen to see communities being proactive around the issue of drugs and if needs be, to contact the organisation for support.

“Our advice is not to wait until drugs appear in communities,” he said. “By that time it’s too late. We encourage communities to take the lead, to inform themselves and inform key decision makers.”

Community organisations or representatives who want advice or information can contact TIPSA at Gortalowry House Ltd, 94 Church Street, Cookstown, tel: 028 8676 3388 or Breakthru in Dungannon on 028 8775 3228.

Any drugs related activity in Cookstown should be reported to the PSNI on 0845 600 8000.