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THOUSANDS OF 'STOLEN' DIAZEPAM FLOOD WALES.

Byline: James mccarthy Reporter james.mccarthy@walesonline.co.uk

THOUSANDS of illegal pills believed to have been stolen were being sold on the streets of Wales as calls were made for the manufacturers to find out where they came from.

One user showed our investigator a box of the highly addictive diazepam, apparently made by Britain's Crescent Pharma, and claimed it was sold to them in Newport following a theft.

"They have come from a warehouse or a factory," the user said.

"That is why there is no prescription sticker on the box saying who the pills are supposed to be used by.

"There is a huge amount of these available - the person who sold them to me said there were loads. Thousands of pills at least."

GP Dr Phil White believed the sedatives - which were formerly marketed as Valium - could have been stolen.

"They could well have come from a break-in. There are always pharmacies being broken into, certainly if there was no label," the Gwynedd medic said.

"It might even be stolen from the wholesaler."

Users often take them as a "Sunday morning" drug to bring them down from highs like cocaine.

"You do get thefts," Dr White said.

"We have got elaborate security at our dispensary, there are bars on the windows and a big alarm system. They get targeted.

"Diazepam can go for PS5 a tablet. When they cost about 30p for a box of 28, that's quite a mark-up."

Drugs charity Kaleidoscope urged Hampshire-based Crescent Pharma to investigate.

"Prescription drugs are easy to get hold of," director Martin Blakebrough said.

"There is a lot of money being made from this. If you have got real Diazepam made by a chemist in Britain, that could be a nice windfall.

"Anyone selling them would benefit financially."

Mr Blakebrough said: "If drugs come in the mail you can never quite be sure where they are being made.

"If this is happening the pharmaceutical company need to look at that batch of drugs and investigate."

Illegal prescription drug use was "a big problem".

"It's not good, but in some ways it is better than people taking unregulated drugs," Mr Blakebrough said.

"People supplementing their painkillers with additional drugs is not uncommon."

Patients were often given a "huge amount" of drugs which could be sold on and "abused".

"Having said that, we also have to accept there are drugs we cannot control that easily," Mr Blakebrough said.

"Drug and alcohol charities in Wales are aware it's a big problem."

He said here were "thousands" of users.

"The problem is that it is a hidden issue."

Gwent Police warned against buying illegal prescription pills - the ones shown to us were in Newport.

"Diazepam is a Class C drug," a spokeswoman said.

"Possession without a prescription, or supply or production without a licence, is illegal.

"Possession carries a maximum sentence of two years' imprisonment and a fine.

"Supply or production carries a maximum sentence of 14 years' imprisonment and a fine."

Gwent Police, North Wales Police and Dyfed-Powys Police said they were not aware of a Diazepam theft having been reported to them.

A source at Hampshire-based manufacturers Crescent Pharma said it was "disappointing" to hear the pills were being sold illegally.

At the time of writing the firm had not commented on where the drugs could have come from.

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Thousands of diazepam pills are being sold on the streets
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Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Aug 16, 2015
Words:570
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