Northern Ireland

Adam Owens: Concerns over 'legal high' legislation a year on from teenager's death

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Media captionBBC News NI's Lisa McAlister speaks to the mother of Adam Owens one year after his death

The mother of a teenager who died after taking 'legal high' drugs has said "everyday's a struggle" a year on from his death.

Adam Owens, 17, was found dead on 13 April 2015 in the Westwinds estate, in Newtownards, County Down.

Adele Wallace said she was concerned there is not enough help in Northern Ireland for "kids with addictions".

"It's very, very difficult because there's not enough resources to provide enough provision of service," she said.

"There is such a high volume of kids that are taking these drugs and it's just totally screwing them up in every way possible and there's not enough doors open to help them."

She added that she had "major concerns" because a ban on the drugs in the Republic of Ireland "hasn't been working".

"Four prosecutions through 2010 up until 2016 and that speaks volumes to me because I'm sure there's more than four drug dealers down south peddling this rubbish," she said.

Image caption Adam Owens' family said he had been taken legal highs for three years

In an emotional interview with BBC Newsline, Ms Wallace also described the death of her son as "a parents' worst nightmare".

"It's so upsetting and distressing to think for something so cheap and so deadly was capable of taking my son's life.

"(He was) 17, a whole future ahead, everything gone just like that.

"Drugs just destroy people's lives, they rip families apart and the hardest part is when you have to bury your child at 17 because it just seems to wrong to bury your child at 17."

She added: "To be blatantly truthful, everyday is a struggle. I do this kind of stuff because I think kids need to hear, they need to be aware, they need to realise the dangers.

"I feel very driven in that way because I don't want another mum to be sitting doing what I'm doing now if it can be prevented.

"I have lost the most precious thing ever that can never, ever be replaced.

"Nothing can bring Adam back and that is a fight on a daily basis trying to deal with that and knowing that he's gone and that you can never hug him or hold him or kiss him or tell him that you love him," she said.

"All that, everything's gone, and it is so, so hard."

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