Keeping the blues at bay in the UDA's heartland

By Lunar Loops · Nov 28, 2007 · ·
  1. Lunar Loops
    This from the Belfast Telegraph (did anyone see Insight on UTV on Monday night?):

    Keeping the blues at bay in the UDA's heartland

    In north Belfast teenagers are being driven to suicide after taking so-called Blues tablets. People in the Tigers Bay area speak out about the scourge of their community.

    Monday, November 26, 2007
    By Sharon O'Neill

    A 14-year-old boy doused himself in petrol after taking the same pills as tragic Dean Clarke, it has emerged. Tonight on Insight we investigate the drugs being dealt to the children and adults of Tigers Bay in north Belfast.

    And we examine the UDA's links to the drugs being peddled on the streets where Dean Clarke took 22 pills, known as Blues.
    The 16-year-old died in hospital in the early hours of November 3 after a suicide attempt on the Limestone Road just days earlier.
    Ross Cowan chatted with Dean hours before he tried to take his life on Sunday, October 28.

    "I said 'what about you mate, are you all right?' and he never said to me about the Saturday night or anything and, being none the wiser, I didn't have a clue either about the drugs. But it came as a shock to me on the Sunday night as I'd seen him on the Sunday morning and he was happy.''
    We can reveal that 14-year-old Alistair Doherty, who took Blues on the same day as Dean, has also tried to take his life.

    "He was brought home to my house by the police, doused from head to toe in petrol,'' says his sister Lynsey Doherty.
    "When he doused himself, the petrol must have soaked the lighter. The lighter was incapable of flicking. If that lighter had flicked, that child, God forgive me, that child would have been dead.
    "When we questioned him about the petrol he said something about Blues but we didn't actually catch on.''

    These pills are called Blues because of their colour, but not all tablets are the same. Some contain Diazepam, the horse tranquillers Ketamine, and rat poisoning, which is designed to thin the blood.
    Dean's family and other residents in the community have blamed a UDA man for supplying these deadly drugs.

    On Remembrance Sunday, the UDA declared its weapons were put beyond use, and vowed to stamp out drug dealing.
    But one drug dealer tells Insight about his deal with the UDA.
    "I was approached about 18 months ago to sell drugs for the UDA. I sold blow,'' he says.
    "When you were buying a kilo, you had to pay an extra £300 or so to sell in their area, for them to protect you. I cut them up and sold them in ounces. It was a good living, too good to miss out on ...
    "The drugs are bringing in the UDA far too much money for the UDA leadership to stop it altogether.''

    Lynsey Doherty says her young brother has felt the wrath of the UDA over his anti-social behaviour.
    He has received a number of so-called punishment beatings, the first when he was 11 years old.
    She recalls an attack just weeks ago: "He was left for dead at the bottom of the street, not only choking on his own vomit but taking a fit. He was left basically for dead with boot marks on his head.''
    She is damning of the UDA.
    "They class themselves as the - what would I say? - local authority. They're taking care of their community in the way that they feel like. That's my opinion, but whether people would agree with it is a different matter. They think that basically, it's their district, it's their rules.''

    After taking the Blues pills, Alistair's behaviour spiralled out of control. He wrecked the family home. Uncontrollable, they had him arrested.
    While in a detention centre, he tried to take his own life - three times. He is now back at home.

    "They don't know whether or not - with him taking these tablets - he has actually taken a kind of mental breakdown,'' says Lynsey Doherty.
    "At the end of the day, it's different if it's an adult. You know the score. If you're an adult, you know the risk that you're taking. A child doesn't. A child gets a quick buzz, a quick high. A child doesn't worry about the consequences or the side effects.''

    Ryan Longman (16) also tells the programme he had noticed something different about his cousin Dean.
    "I saw him a couple of days before and I knew there was something wrong with him. I knew he was on tablets but I didn't know what the tablets were,'' he says.
    "His eyes were all funny. I've been drunk myself and you don't go like that when you're drunk. I knew definitely there was something else in him.''
    Dean's friend, 16-year-old Jamie McDonald, admits he took the Blues too. His last fix was shortly before Dean died.
    He took 12 tablets. Asked how he felt on the pills, Jamie says: "To be honest I felt good, the next day I felt like s**t.' Drugs just ruin your life. They messed up my life.
    "I missed a lot of school. I was a good student before I started drugs and then I started taking drugs and I missed more school, and I was taking days off to take drugs, get drugs. I was completely obsessed with them.''

    Despite Dean's death, the drugs are still being dealt to the young in Tigers Bay.
    "A couple of friends are still taking them,"' says Jamie.

    But the Blues aren't just a drug for the young. One mother-of-eight tells the programme that she took these pills.
    She recently handed over her supply to a community meeting.
    "I bought 20 in the first batch, then 25," she reveals. "I started on one, then two, then four a night. The second batch was different, even stronger. The third batch, I passed out in the bath. My daughter had to lift me out. I couldn't remember a thing. It scared me. I stopped taking them.''
    On top of these Blues the mother, who does not want to be identified, had been taking 14 painkillers a day. She admits she is addicted to prescription drugs.
    "I'm sitting here now with the shakes," she says. "My kids were off school for over a week. You just don't want to get out of bed. You don't live, you survive. That's just what it's like round here.''

    The mothers of Tigers Bay are united in a campaign to stamp out drug dealing. With a UDA man accused of supplying the pills Dean took, they believe the leadership is fully aware of the extent of the dealing among its ranks.
    Anjie Wallace says: "Being the leading group of the Tigers Bay area they must know what drugs are coming in and what drugs are going out because it's like everything else, there has to be money crossing somebody's hands.
    "They must know because they're bound to be taking money off these dealers.''

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  1. Coconut
    I'm awfully tired of hearing ketamine being referred to as "horse tranquillisers" in an effort to scare people.
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