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14 drug-related deaths in North Belfast in 2017

CONCERNS: William Burns with his wife Lesley who lost their son Jamie (23) in November 2016 CONCERNS: William Burns with his wife Lesley who lost their son Jamie (23) in November 2016
By Conor McParland

THERE were 14 drug-related deaths in North Belfast in 2017, latest statistics have revealed.
The figures by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) on Monday revealed there were 136 drug-related deaths across the north in 2017 – with 101 of them males – 74% of all drug-related deaths.
The government statistics also revealed drug-related deaths among males in the north have almost doubled in the past ten years – an increase of 98% between 2007 and 2017.
In contrast, the number of female drug-related deaths remained unchanged at 35 over the last decade.
Drug-related deaths accounted for one per cent of all deaths registered in the north in 2017. The highest figure of 144 drug-related deaths was recorded in 2015.
The latest statistics make grim reading for local anti-drugs campaigner William Burns. The father, who is behind the hard-hitting #1PILLWILLKILL campaign lost his son Jamie (23) in November 2016 after he died in hospital after taking one ecstasy tablet on a night out at Queen’s University Student Union.
“After the statistics for drug-related deaths in 2017 were finally released this week, 136 people lost their lives. That is two people a week for the whole year.
“Since 2001, there have been over 100 people every year dead through drugs. That is 821 people who lost their lives in seven years.
“How many families does that affect? How many other lives have those deaths devastated?
“Year after year, the numbers are getting bigger. Where will it stop because I think it has gone beyond that. I think there is too much money to be made.
“People don’t realise the danger that they put their lives in every single time they take drugs.
“Every year there are more drug deaths than deaths on the roads, yet think of the money spent on road safety campaigns compared to anti-drug campaigns.”

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