Drug deaths outstrip car crash fatalities

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The PSNI says more people are dying from the misuse of opioids than car accidents after seizing £309,000 worth of drugs in a fresh crackdown from Derry to Newtownabbey.

Police issued the stark warning following the first two weeks of Operation Torus 2017 when, between February 27 and March 13, police in the North area, which includes the Derry City and Strabane, Mid and East Antrim, Causeway Coast and Glens, and Antrim and Newtownabbey districts, carried out a series of successful raids against drug dealers.

North Area Detective Chief Inspector Dunny McCubbin said: “Our Operation Torus activity to date has resulted in 49 searches, 38 seizures and 14 arrests. Drugs recovered have included herbal cannabis, cocaine, MDMA, Diazepam and steroids. What is giving us real cause for concern is the increase in drug related deaths in our area with nine reported since the start of this year. The dangers of taking illegal drugs and abusing prescription drugs are well-documented and when alcohol is added to the mix the repercussions can be fatal.

“We will continue to act on the information the community provides us to remove illegal drugs and bring the dealers and suppliers to court but raising awareness around the dangers of drugs requires a collective response from parents, peers, the health and education sectors and others.”

Detective Chief Superintendent Tim Mairs, Head of Reactive and Organised Crime Branch, said: “The number of opioid deaths now account for a larger number of fatalities in the UK than traffic collisions. Northern Ireland figures also reflect this trend with 88 opioid related deaths in 2015 and 74 fatalities as a result of RTCs.”