Northern Ireland

Department of Health warning over black market drugs

The Department of Health is warning that a quantity of potentially dangerous licensed medicines may be in circulation on the black market.

The drugs, including tramadol, diazepam and co-codamol, are thought to have been diverted illegally from a "legitimate supply chain".

It was uncovered following investigations by the Department of Health's Medicines Regulatory Group.

Anyone offered such medicines should contact them or the police.

Prof Mike Mawhinney, head of the Medicines Regulatory Group, said: "I would urge the public to be vigilant and ensure that they do not put their health at risk by purchasing medication from an illicit source.

"The medicines involved are potent and are subject to abuse.

"People should take medicines in consultation with their healthcare professionals who have access to patient health records, who are qualified to assess their medical needs and can take into account the risks and benefits associated with every medicine."

He added: "We would ask the public to report to the Medicines Regulatory Group or the PSNI any incidences where they have been offered any medicines from an unregulated source."

The drugs include tramadol capsules, diazepam tablets, co-codamol tablets, zolpidem tablets and zopiclone tablets.

A Department of Health spokesperson said: "We are unable to comment further on the nature of the diversion from the legitimate supply chain due to ongoing investigation."