Northern Ireland

Drug-related deaths highlighted at meeting in Dunmurry

The meeting was organised by families whose children have died from taking prescription drugs in the last few months
Image caption The meeting was organised by families whose children have died from taking prescription drugs in the last few months

A public meeting has been held in Dunmurry to discuss the rise in the number of drug-related deaths across Belfast.

The meeting was organised by a number of families whose children have died from taking prescription drugs in the last few months.

Image caption Leaflets were handed out during the event

The misuse of prescription drugs is a concern for the authorities.

In the last few months the PSNI has investigated the deaths of five people, all thought to be drug-related.

Image caption Gerry McConville from the Falls Community Council said something needs to be done urgently to tackle the issue

One of those was a 16-year-old girl.

Gerry McConville from the Falls Community Council said something needs to be done urgently to tackle the issue.

Image caption Photographs of some of those who had died after taking prescription drugs were on display

"In the past we've had legal highs, illegal drugs and at the moment the emphasis is on prescription drugs," he said.

Image caption Deirdre Lennon's son died two years ago after taking Tramadol

"We need to get the message out to young people that they don't need to take these drugs and that there is help available."

Figures from the Public Health Agency show that prescription drug deaths in Northern Ireland are, on average, 10 times more prevalent than cocaine deaths.

Image caption Caomhan's last words to his mother were 'mummy I love you'

Deirdre Lennon's son, Caomhan, died two years ago on Mother's day after taking three Tramadol - he was just 19.

"Caomhan's last words to me were 'mummy I love you'. It took him five to eight hours to die," she said.

"He took a massive heart attack and his organs failed."

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