Tuesday 02 March 2021
Rachel Woods MLA has responded to a NI Statistics and Research Agency figure reporting 191 drug related deaths registered in Northern Ireland in 2019.
Rachel Woods MLA said: “This is a harrowing statistic and each and every one of these deaths is a human tragedy causing pain and devastation.
“The 2019 statistics show that on average, more than three people died every week from drug related issues. The total number of deaths for 2019 is more than double that recorded a decade ago and continue to be concentrated in our most deprived areas.”
Rachel Woods MLA continued:
“Problematic drug use and addiction are public health issues and cannot be solved solely through matter for the criminal justice system.
“Criminalising people with drug problems has not worked. It pushes people to the margins of society, making it difficult for them to access help and support, increasing the risk of harm.
“The policy response must be to reduce drug deaths through harm reduction measures which treat people who use drugs and their families with compassion and dignity.
“Support services must be properly resourced so that help is available and accessible.
“Deaths from drug misuse are tragic and have a huge reverberation across our communities.
“Harm reduction is a crucial means by which to reduce drug deaths and the associated pain and desolation.”
Notes to Editors