Father of drug overdose man Darren Taylor was shot dead by soldiers in 1978

Paul Ainsworth and Claire Simpson

A 39-YEAR-OLD man found dead from a suspected drug overdose in Co Tyrone was the son of a man shot dead by undercover soldiers in a case of mistaken identity in 1978.

Darren Taylor, from Cookstown, was found dead at a flat in the village of Coagh on Monday.

A 26-year-old man was arrested and later bailed. He was arrested on suspicion of possessing a medicinal product without prescription, supplying a medicinal product without prescription and a breach of bail offence.

Mr Taylor was found in the same flat where 21-year-old Amy Reid - also from Cookstown - died just weeks before.

It is understood he was one of two men arrested and bailed following Ms Reid's death on October 28.

Mr Taylor's father James, a 23-year-old Protestant civil servant from Coagh, was shot dead by the British army while on a duck hunt on Ballinderry River in September 1978.

He was killed by undercover soldiers who believed he was a member of a paramilitary group.

Darren Taylor was found dead just hours after 23-year-old Jamie Burns died after taking suspected 'ecstasy' tablets while on a night out at a dance event in Queen's Students' Union.

The north Belfast call centre worker collapsed in the early hours of Sunday morning at the venue on Belfast's University Road before being taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

He will be buried on Friday after an online funding campaign to help his family pay for funeral costs raised more than £2,000 in a matter of hours.

A former youth coach with Crusaders FC in north Belfast, his funeral service will be attended by representatives of the club.

Following the two drug-related deaths, Mid Ulster SDLP MLA Patsy McGlone said he would meet police to discuss the "insidious effect that drug dealing is having on our communities".

"We need more people to come forward, bring information forward and help bring those who deal in death to justice," he said.

On Sunday, eight people needed medical treatment after eating cannabis-laced cookies at a house in Ballymena.

Lisburn-based charity Action on Substances through Community Education and Related Training (ASCERT), urged young people in particular to educate themselves about a substance before taking it, to learn of the potential dangers.

ASCERT director Gary McMichael said: "The simple message is that when people take a pill or other substance they haven't been prescribed, then they don't know what that substance is going to do. Our advice is don't take it.

"However, if people are going to take drugs regardless, then they should take whatever steps they can to do so in as safe an environment as possible.

"From a harm reduction point of view, our advice is to understand as much as possible about what you are taking, so you can recognise if things start to occur in a way you don't expect."

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