08/01/2019

Belfast Hit By 10 Drug-Related Deaths In December

The last month has seen 10 suspected drug-related deaths in the greater Belfast area, sparking concern across the community.

PSNI Detective Superintendent Bobby Singleton said while the cause of death is not definitively known, the use of illicit or prescription drugs may have been a factor.

Sinn Fein MLA Orlaithí Flynn expressed worry at the spate of suspected drug related fatalities, and offered her condolences to those affected.

"News that ten people have died as a result of drug abuse in the greater Belfast area over the Christmas period is shocking and very concerning," the west Belfast MLA said. 

"My thoughts are with all of those touched by these deaths and their families. 

"It is a stark reminder of the dangers of the abuse of drugs in our society. 
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"I would appeal to anyone who is concerned about their own drug use or that of others and those worried they may have come into contact with any harmful substances to seek medical advice immediately and contact the many groups who are doing valued work combating the scourge of drug abuse."

The majority of fatalities relating to drug abuse in Northern Ireland occur when someone has taken more than one substance, including alcohol.

Police made 6,771 seizures of illicit substances in the year ending 30 September 2018.

A total of 3,310 drug-related arrests were made in the same period, up by 469 on the previous year.

"These sustained high levels of drug seizure incidents reflect the proactive work by the PSNI in response to concerns about drugs within our communities," Detective Superintendent Singleton added.



(JG)

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