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Anti-drugs meeting held in Pomeroy after teen in hospital

Sinn Féin Mid Ulster MLA Linda Dillon and party councillor Cathal Mallaghan
Brendan Hughes

A CO TYRONE village held a public meeting over concerns about young people taking drugs after a teenager was left critically ill in hospital.

The meeting at the Rowan Tree Centre in Pomeroy on Wednesday evening was organised by Sinn Féin representatives, and attended by drug awareness charity Breakthru and the PSNI.

It comes after the community gathered at a special Mass last week in support of Sean Lagan (19), who remains in hospital after collapsing from the effects of taking cocaine and prescription drugs before Christmas.

During a packed Mass at the Church of the Assumption, Fr David Moore made a heartfelt appeal to young people to stay away from illegal substances as prayers were said for the teenager's recovery.

Sinn Féin councillor Cathal Mallaghan, who arranged the meeting along with Mid Ulster MLA Linda Dillon, said more than 100 people braved the snowy weather conditions to attend.

"The problem with drugs at the moment is widespread. It is not unique to Pomeroy, but it certainly has become an increasing problem that young people are taking them. It was felt that the community needed to get together to see what they could do," he said.

He added: "The effects of it are difficult to measure. It's just local knowledge. People are aware of it. People know it's happening.

"Cocaine and cannabis seem to be the main drugs and prescribed medication that's being abused."

Mr Mallaghan said the meeting aimed to look at how to prevent young people in the community from taking drugs, and how to tackle drug dealers.

He said Breakthru would be working in the area and the Pomeroy Plunketts GAA club is also planning an anti-drugs initiative with their young members.

Mr Mallaghan urged anyone with information about drug dealing to contact their local representatives or the police.

"There are two ways we can stop drug dealers harming our young people. The first is to stop young people taking drugs and the second is to make sure people who are pushing drugs are put behind bars," he said.

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