Heroin needles found in Belfast City Hall toilets - 90% increase in use says councillor
A Belfast councillor has called for action after used heroin needles were found in the toilets of City Hall.
The SDLP's Paul McCusker said that the discovery highlights the severity of the problem currently gripping the city.
Councillor McCusker said that in 2018 there was a 90% increase in heroin use in Belfast and that "we have gone way beyond that" with great numbers of people accessing addiction services.
He said that increases in use "indicates we are not dealing with this serious issue".
"Belfast City Council community safety staff have seen an increase in used needles throughout the city and we are finding needles in areas where we have never before," Councillor McCusker said.
"I have written to directors to organise training for our security/cleaning staff who are finding needles in order to limit any risk to them and ensuring safe disposal to minimise risk to the public.
"We have seen an increase in the need for needle exchanges and the use of Naloxone for those who experience an overdose with many charities such as Extern and the Belfast Trust outreach team working hard to support those using heroin."
The SDLP councillor said that the need for safe injecting facilities in Belfast needed to be explored further and that this would allow agencies to work with drug users to provide support.
"The department for health and the public health agency along with police have a responsibility on dealing with this to show direction on how we deal with this escalating opioid use and it’s important to involve those drug support agencies who are working on the front line," Councillor McCusker said.
"Used needles cause a significant risk to the public and we need to ensure there is early intervention and the user is educated on how to safely dispose of their needles and to work to reduce the amount of needles being found in buildings and on our streets."
Anyone who finds drug apparatus can report it to the Community Safety Unit by calling 02890 270469 between 8am to 5pm or 07850 499622 between 5pm to 8am.
Belfast Telegraph Digital