Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Urgent action sought to tackle escalating drug problem

In the wake of the death of a man from a drugs overdose in Newry on Wednesday, SDLP Assembly Member for Newry and Armagh Justin McNulty MLA has called for urgent multi-agency action to tackle what he termed “a growing drug problem” in the city.

“Illegal drugs are a scourge on our society, they have a devastating impact on those who suffer from addiction, their families and our community,” he said.  “This problem needs to be tackled at source, focusing on the dealers who peddle the drugs.  The supply chain must be targeted and targeted in a meaningful way by the PSNI, An Garda Síochána and all involved in tackling crime on this island.”

Describing the man’s death as “a sad and sinister development”, Mr McNulty says the use of hard and recreational drugs has become “all too prevalent” with many youth workers and sports coaches describing the problem as “an epidemic”.

“The reasons for initial drug use can be complex and I believe we need an all-encompassing approach to helping those who are caught up in addiction,” he added.

Revealing that he and party colleagues are to meet with senior police officers to discuss the issue, McNulty claims “more than a policing approach” is required.

We need the community and voluntary sectors and most importantly young people and those who have been impacted by addiction. This needs action and needs action now.”