PARENTS have been warned of a frightening boom in the number of teenagers abusing prescription drugs in Clare.
Benzodiazepines such as xanax and valium have joined cannabis and alcohol as the drugs most commonly used by teenagers in Clare.
According to David McPhillips, team leader with the Limerick based Community Substance Misuse (CSMT) Team; ‘benzo’’ use has escalated dramatically in recent years.
He told The Clare People, “In my opinion benzo use has escalated beyond any comparable amount to previous years. I’d say in the last five or six years, benzo use has increased and you couldn’t really compare it to anything else. I’m not sure exactly why that’s happened. Maybe it’s the availability. Youths see you can get 15 tablets for €30 or less. When you mix it with alcohol it has a pretty profound effect on you really quickly.
It doesn’t have the same effect on you as heroin or cocaine.”
The CSMT works with young people and families affected by substance abuse in Clare, Limerick and North Tipperary. The team has reported a consistent high referral rate with 60 persons making contact with the service since last August.
Mr McPhillips said regular benzo use can cause paranoia and severe psychological dependence.
He said, “Consecutive use of benzos over four to five weeks will lead to quite a heavy reliance on it and a psychological reliance pretty quickly and obviously a physical reliance as well.

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A native of Ennis, Ronan Judge completed his Journalism and Communications Diploma course at Griffith College. The Clare People is his first newspaper appointment. Contact Ronan on [email protected]

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