PSNI investigate drug use in five sudden deaths

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By David Hunter

Police say they're investigating an unusually high number of sudden deaths in Northern Ireland since Friday. 

Five people have died, with four incidents taking place in Belfast yesterday. 

Post-mortem examinations are being carried out, with toxicology reports also ordered. 

Detectives say drugs are suspected in a number of the deaths, but they're not being linked at this stage. 

The deaths include a 16 year old girl in the Great Victoria Street area of Belfast, 26 year old man in Riverdale Park North, a 25 year old man in the Hannahstown area, and a 28 year old man in the Utility Street area.


Detective Chief Superintendent Tim Mairs, Head of Reactive and Organised Crime Branch, said: “Investigations are at an early stage but I would like to take this opportunity to re-inforce the dangers posed by taking any illegal drug or any medication which is not prescribed for you. 


"Misuse of drugs can affect anyone and we recognise that many vulnerable people are being exploited for the financial gain of those higher up the supply chain.


“The number of deaths in Northern Ireland connected to drug use is on the increase and this is a concern. Sadly, these are all preventable.


“In fact, more people are dying from misuse of opioid drugs in Northern Ireland than in road fatalities, which is a very stark reality.


“Behind each of these statistics is a person and also a family who are living daily with this loss."

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