We need to educate young on drug abuse
As the ever deepening drug crisis burrows into to the hearts of our communities and the veins of its users, we must find a multi-directional approach to support those caught in its evil web.
The number of heroin users and addicts in Belfast and beyond is staggering, and the availability and easy access to hard drugs such as heroin and cocaine should be a cause of concern for us all.
To counteract the devastating effect of drug addiction, we should consider several avenues of deterrent.
Our first port of call must be educational if we are to stop another generation being lost to depression, homelessness, suicide and custodial sentences.
We must put drug abuse on the curriculum and/or have former addicts and family members who have lost loved ones to suicide and prison sentences through addiction address our 15 to 18-year-olds.
Dealers should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, and users should be supported and helped through their addiction.
By educating the next generation, supporting those already addicted and proper enforcement of the law, we might - just might - make a positive contribution to stemming the tidal wave of drugs afflicting our young people.
The demands placed on users to pay for their addiction lead to prostitution, theft, robbery and imprisonment.
We don't criminalise alcoholics, we help them. So let's offer drug addicts the same opportunities.
Like homelessness, it could strike any one of us if our circumstances were different.