Three mothers whose young sons died as a result of drug abuse tonight spoke about their heartbreak at meeting in Derry.

The women spoke at a meeting of the Derry Policing and Community Partnership which was specially organised to look at the extent of the drugs problem in the city.

The event at St Columb's Park House heard claims that drug use in Derry was at 'epidemic' levels.

Among the mothers to speak tonight was Derry woman Colette Quigley whose son Andrew took his own life earlier this year after a long battle with drugs.

Ms Quigley (pictured above) said her son's head had been 'messed up' but he realised that he had a problem and had tried to seek help.

However, she said that she had struggled to access the type of help that her son needed.

Ms Quigley said that since her son's death she had been contacted by so many people whose children are also addicted to drugs.

She said it was vital that a detox centre or other 24-hour support facilities were put in place to address the problem in Derry.

County Derry woman Theresa Burke also spoke at the meeting about the devastating impact that her son Kealan's death had on her family.

Mrs Burke said she believed her son had accidentally taken a drug overdose which let him in a vegetative state for 18 months before he died in 2009.

Letterkenny woman Karen Vandersypen was the other mother to speak at the meeting, recalling the events which led to her son Jimmy's death.

All three women supported calls at the meeting for more to be done to educate young people about the dangers of drugs.

For an extensive report of tonight's meeting, see Monday's editon of the Derry News.

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