Sudden death of west Belfast father-of-one Kevin Doherty 'linked to drugs' as new warning issued over lethal substances
Family's agony as father 'killed by drugs overdose'
The family of a father-of-one who died after a suspected drugs overdose say they have been left "completely heartbroken".
West Belfast man Kevin Doherty was taken to Royal Victoria Hospital from his flat in the Ross Street area on Tuesday morning at around 11am.
He died a short time later.
The 30-year-old was having a party in the Lower Falls area where it's believed there was a "cocktail of drink and drugs" in the house. Two male friends were also hospitalised after becoming critically ill at the party.
The group had been partying over the weekend.
It's believed Kevin passed out and friends called an ambulance.
However, a toxicology report is still awaited.
A spokeswoman for the family told the Belfast Telegraph they are "heartbroken and in disbelief" at their loss. A 'bad batch' of ecstasy-type pills is being blamed for the tragedy.
West Belfast MP Paul Maskey said: "People are dying and those selling drugs on the streets have no other interest apart from making money. They don't care who they hurt or kill to make themselves money. We will do our best to prevent this happening to others."
Mr Maskey has requested a meeting with Chief Superintendent George Clarke, the commander in charge of the District Command Unit that comprises north and west Belfast.
Mr Doherty's large family said they were still in shock and the loss of Kevin hadn't sank in yet.
Kevin's body was brought to his family home in the Divis, Lower Falls area, yesterday.
Shortly after, neighbours spoke of a popular, fun-loving, loveable man.
"He was just loved by everyone, he was one in a million.You couldn't have a bad word to say about him," one said.
"So funny, a wee messer and always good craic – always smiling."
Mr Doherty, who had a son Gerard (7), was described as "a family man and a doting, dedicated dad". He worked on construction sites as a labourer. His family are described as "decent, hard-working people".
Drugs programme manager at Falls Community Council, Benny Lynch said no conclusions on how Kevin died should be drawn just yet.
"Let's not jump to conclusions and no determination can be made ahead of the toxicology report," he insisted. "But it must be known that there is the support there in community groups to come off drugs and there's help out there for those who need it."
Earlier this year the PSNI issued a drugs warning following at least eight sudden and unexplained deaths across Northern Ireland.
"All of the people involved in taking drugs need to be made aware of the dangers of drugs and in particular mixing drugs together. That could include illegal drugs, legal highs, prescription drugs and alcohol. Drugs can interact with each other and the risk is even greater. There's a range of support out there to tackle drugs"
– Alex Bunting, Head of Corporate Services at Forum Against Substance Abuse