Mum's plea after son Fergal Deeney (26) loses life to heroin overdose
The devastated mother of a Belfast man who died from a suspected heroin overdose has urged those facing addiction to get help.
Fergal Deeney from the Carrick Hill area had just turned 26. He had a history of drug use.
He was found dead on Sunday in a house in Stanhope Street. And three other people in the immediate area were found in a serious condition.
It's understood he is the third person to die from heroin in Northern Ireland inside a week.
The death also means that at least 15 people here have died from addiction in the past two months.
His mother Kathy Deeney told UTV of the moment she learned her son had died.
"I got a phone call from my 14-year-old daughter that she had heard he was found dead in a house," she said.
"Not even three minutes later, the police came to the door, I said: 'Is it true'?
"They said they thought it was a heroin overdose, but he had been taking other stuff as well.
"I'm just numb, it comes on me in fits and starts.
"I had to go and see his wee brother today and break the news to him.
"He was absolutely devastated; it's even worse for him because he's in Hydebank."
Ms Deeney said her son had a history of drug use, starting with cannabis.
"He went from that to tablets, to blue Xanax. Because they (no longer) gave him a hit, he was on the heroin."
She said watching her son's decline into drug use was "horrible".
"I had him on the straight and narrow and he was fine," she said. "As soon as he moved out, it was a proper downward spiral."
Ms Deeney said her son's body was due to return home today.
"I don't know how the girls (his sisters) are going to cope with that," she added.
"I would just say for mothers and fathers, anybody who knows about it, try and get help straight away. I know it's rife, but get help straight away.
"You never think it's going to come to your own door."
Green Party MLA Clare Bailey said lives are being lost as Department of Health commitments on waiting lists fail to improve access to addiction support services. She added: "Despite warnings of a growing problem, we are facing an epidemic without a strategy to deal with it.
"It's clear that the Belfast Trust doesn't have the appropriate resources needed to meet demand for addiction support services.
"Within Northern Ireland, the Belfast Trust ranks lowest for addiction support services funding. While other trusts are meeting waiting list targets, the Belfast Trust continues to struggle."