A mother whose son died of a heroin overdose has accused the local authorities of not tackling a serious drugs problem in her home town.
Heather Davidson was speaking after an inquest into the death of her 32-year-old addict son who was found dead at his Co Antrim home last summer.
Raymond Trevor Davidson, a former computer engineer from Ballymena, was seeking treatment for his drugs problem but died on June 17, 2009 after relapsing.
Mrs Davidson — who has previously clashed with Ballymena mayor James Currie over drugs in the town — yesterday reiterated her concerns over their availability.
“Myself, or even my mother, could go and get drugs at the end of the street if we wanted to,” she told the Belfast Telegraph. “The drugs are everywhere.”
“The mayor and the council need to admit there is a drugs issue here and it needs to be addressed before someone else becomes a victim.”
On a BBC Radio Ulster programme in January, Mr Currie claimed the drug problem was “no better and no worse” in Ballymena than elsewhere.
The UUP man also provoked controversy by asking Mrs Davidson — who was on holiday at the time of her son’s death — if it was “wise to go to Turkey when he was not fully recovered”.
But, yesterday, the mother-of-four said she had no doubts that her eldest son’s tragic death was part of a bigger drugs problem.
“The drug dealers hassled him and hassled him to get him back on the drugs and that’s why he died,” Mrs Davidson said.
Ballymena Court heard that Raymond, who was single and unemployed, moved from Ballymena to Carnlough in May 2008.
His mother said he was seeing a doctor and had embarked on a methadone programme, which was nearing completion before the relapse.
“I think Raymond felt he had disappointed us and that is so hard for me to live with,” Mrs Davidson told this newspaper.
“If I could help just one person with a drugs problem, then at least I would have done something for Raymond.”
Coroner Brian Sherrard said the victim’s death was due to “morphine toxicity combined with codeine, mirtazapine and diazepam.”
He added that it “is not unusual” for a recovering addict to take a level of drugs previously used with fatal consequences.
The inquest was adjourned yesterday as the man who discovered the body at the deceased’s Bay Road apartment was not there to give evidence.
Mr Currie last night said he would comment after the inquest is finished.