Drug situation at ‘crisis point’

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The drugs situation in the Upper Bann area is at “crisis point” according to an MLA.

Sydney Anderson, who obtained statistics confirming a soaring drugs problem in the last year, says there is a “genuine drugs crisis which is inflicting real damage”.

Between May 2014 and May 2015 there were 453 drug related incidents reported to the PSNI across the Portadown, Craigavon, Lurgan, Banbridge and Gilford areas.

A total 119 drug related incidents were reported to the police in Portadown whilst 121 incidents were reported in Banbridge and 136 incidents in Lurgan.

Mr Anderson, a former member of the Stormont Justice Committee, said, “I am overwhelmed to learn that over 450 drug related incidents were reported to the PSNI in the Upper Bann constituency over a 12-month period.

“This clearly highlights that there is a genuine drugs crisis which is inflicting real damage on our local area. In recent years numerous people in Upper Bann have lost their lives because of drugs and many families have been devastated. It is not only our own area but many places across Northern Ireland which have been deeply scarred by drug related incidents.”

PSNI Chief Inspector Paul Reid pledged to continue fighting the problem, “Crisis is a strong word, however for any family who has to watch someone they love suffer because of drugs, it is the only word to describe it.

““Mr Anderson is also correct in promoting a partnership approach to effectively tackle the issue of drugs.”