City centre death linked to heroin

Police and ambulance paramedics attended the scene
Staff reporter

A 25-YEAR-OLD man found dead in a public toilet in Belfast city centre yesterday is believed to have overdosed on heroin.

Police attended the sudden death in the Arthur Lane area at lunchtime.

Paramedics also attended. It is understood the man was a known drugs user.

"Following assessment and initial treatment at the scene, no one was taken to hospital," an ambulance spokesman said.

A post-mortem will be carried out but the death is not being treated as suspicious.

Last November, such was the level of concern about the number of suspected heroin deaths in Belfast that an internal 'early warning system' was triggered. Led by the health service, it was shared with agencies including police and the Department of Justice.

The Drug and Alcohol Monitoring and Information System alert stated there had been "five suspected drug-related deaths over the weekend within the Greater Belfast area" in mid-November.

"While it is not known at this stage what, if any, substances had been taken, it is believed that the individuals may have taken heroin and, in some circumstances, poly drug use," it added.

SDLP councillor and campaigner Paul McCusker has called for more support to tackle the problem.

“We have seen an increase in more younger people using high-level drugs and are caught up in the cycle of addiction and see no way out,” he said.

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