Northern Ireland news

Coroner laments the 'plague' of drug deaths after west Belfast man's overdose

Coroner Joe McCriskin

A CORONER at the inquest of a west Belfast man who died of multi-drugs toxicity yesterday said "the plague continues".

Declan Slane (29), from Lenadoon, died of an "accidental overdose" last August.

An inquest into his death yesterday heard that the father-of-one had taken cocaine and diazepam while at a friend's house in Irwell Court .

The court, sitting in Lisburn, heard that during the early hours of August 7, he had been seen sitting in a chair eating a sandwich.

But hours later his "lifeless body" was found in the same place.

Coroner Joe McCriskin said medical notes had revealed that Mr Slane had suffered from depression and alcohol misuse for several years, believed to have begun after the "murder of his father by loyalist paramilitaries".

A post mortem found he had several drugs in his system including cocaine, codene, diazepam when he died.

Mr McCriskin said "part of the view is that it was the combined effect of all these drugs probably after a loss of consiousness" that led to his death.

The coroner found that the cause of death was multi-drugs toxicity and Mr Slane had died of an accidental overdose.

Mr McCriskin said that Mr Slane's death highlighted the increasing number of drug deaths in the north.

"Barely two days go by in Northern Ireland that one of the coroners in Northern Ireland don't have a drug death reported," he said.

"The plague continues....I don't know what the answer is, but 29 years old is far too young especially with a young child left behind."

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