Belfast Telegraph

Belfast drug deaths toll 37 so far in 2017

Calls have been made for increased efforts to tackle drug addiction after new figures showed 37 drug-related deaths in Belfast in the first nine months of this year.

Speaking about the figures, SDLP North Belfast councillor Paul McCusker called for further support to tackle addiction.

Mr McCusker's North Belfast constituency has accounted for more than half (19) of drug deaths in the city this year.

"The pain caused by drugs aren’t isolated to those trapped in the cycle of addiction," he said.

"It is an insidious pain that affects their friends, their loved ones and their community.

"That pain is being felt far too often in communities across this city."

The PSNI information was released at a meeting this week with the Belfast Trust, the Public Health Agency, the PSNI and Belfast City Council.

The most recent figures from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) show that there were a total of 144 drug-related deaths across Northern Ireland in 2015 - which accounted for less than 1% of all deaths.

Mr McCusker also said that through advocacy work the waiting list for methadone prescriptions, the drug used to help users come off of heroin, will reach zero before the end of November.

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