Sinn Féin’s Spokesperson on mental health, Órlaithí Flynn MLA, has expressed her concern at the scale of drug-related deaths, following the publication of NISRA statistics which show 189 people died in 2018 in drug-related incidents.
The West Belfast MLA said:
“These figures once again point to a shocking level of drug misuse which continues to claim the lives of citizens, particularly young men.
“Crucially, it is not just the prevalence of illicit drugs causing these tragic deaths. Widespread misuse of prescription medicines and alcohol all play a role.
“We must have a mature and public conversation about drug misuse, and the other social and economic factors involved in drug related deaths. We must confront this issue head on.
“All attempts to do this must involve grassroots communities, and particularly deprived communities which are five times more likely to suffer a drug death than a more affluent areas.
“This is precisely Sinn Féin’s approach to harm reduction and tackling the epidemic of drug deaths.
“We laid out this position in a response to a recent consultation on a follow-up strategy to the ‘New Strategic Direction for Drugs and Alcohol’.”