Dallat: Action needed on Heroin abuse
The three trusts further away from Belfast show no patients admitted to hospital with heroin poisoning but have a constantly high number admitted with Opioids which can include heroin and a range of other opioid type drugs such as methadone, opium, morphine and codeine.
The drug situation in East Derry is bad enough, indeed serious, and everything possible must be done to stop the spread of heroin by unscrupulous people to our towns and villages. Emanating in Russia and the Ukraine those involved in this trade are fearless and don’t care how many people they kill.
The Royal Victoria and Mater Hospitals collectively make up the total of Heroin Poisoning admissions in Belfast while Antrim Hospital in the Northern Trust Area account for the total admission of heroin addictions in that area.
These figures may not tell the whole story as only the first hospital the patients is admitted to is included in the statistics.
The increase in heroin addiction cases is most worrying and represents a train wreck coming down the tracks with no return for many of those diagnosed with this deadly addiction.
These are not my words but the words of senior doctors that I have spoken to in one of the Belfast hospitals and it won’t be confined to Belfast, far from it.
Based on my own inquiries I understand this deadly business is being conducted by ruthless people with no regard for anyone and motivated only by creating addiction among people who may already be on drugs.
If this pattern is to continue there is every reason to believe all health trusts will experience an increase in admissions for heroin sufferers while the situation in the Belfast area will, undoubtedly, become much more serious as the availability of this poisonous substance reaches more and more vulnerable people.
This is yet another issue which an assembly should be dealing with, listening to those at the coal face of fighting drug addiction, revising the law relating to Class 1 drugs and searching for best practice in other parts of the world.
Young people, in particular need to be aware that for many people taking heroin there is no way back but suffering and death.