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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Police and the Public Health Agency issue warning on dangers of poly-drug use

Illegal drugs seized recently by PSNI

Illegal prescription drugs seized recently by PSNI

On Monday 7th August, Police were alerted to a theft that had previously occurred, at a premises on Ormeau Road, Belfast. Officers in attendance were able to confirm the identity of the suspect, and a swift arrest was made. The suspect was found to be in possession of a quantity of pills, suspected to be illegal drugs.

Follow up searches recovered a large quantity of similar pills, which have since been submitted to FSNI for testing. A 34 year old male has since been released on Police bail pending further enquiries.


Following this, and a number of reports of drugs related overdoses in Belfast recently, police and Public Health Agency (PHA) are warning of the dangers of drug misuse.


Superintendent Amanda Ford said:

“We are aware of recent media speculation regarding an alleged ‘bad batch’ of illegal drugs within Belfast.

"All illegal drugs are unlicensed and unregulated, meaning the component parts and strength of each pill can vary even within a batch. No drugs are safe and it is often the mix of several pills and/or substances which results in unimaginable damage and an increased risk of overdose and death of the user. As such, our focus is not limited to any one drug.


“The harm and personal loss to individuals and communities affected by illegal drugs are untold in terms of the impact on health, finances, addiction services and exploitation of the vulnerable. We will continue to work hard every day to keep people safe and we have a clear continued focus on the risk and harm resulting from illicit drugs, their supply, and demand. Drugs supply and demand is a vicious cycle that we need to collectively break, as it feeds wider organised criminality, impacts on our most vulnerable people in society and causes lasting harm and suffering for families and communities. None of this should be tolerated and we all have a part to play.

Illegal drugs seized recently by PSNI

“We conduct operational activity in direct response to the threat and harm caused, and on information received from members of the community. This is evidenced on an almost daily basis through the proactive action that is taken, by bringing offenders to justice. In the 2022/23 financial year, Belfast District had a 21.8% increase of recorded drug offences. There were 8% more arrests and 12.4% more seizures of suspected drugs. In the 12 months from 1st July 2022 to 30th June 2023, there were 8,934 drug seizure incidents recorded in Northern Ireland. In the same period there were 3,340 drug-related arrests. However, we are acutely aware that this issue needs a whole systems approach. We also work closely with a huge range of partners across all sectors, to assess for early trends, track for any changes and seek long-term sustainable solutions to prevent some of the demand and resultant harm. Much of this work is undertaken through the invaluable and multi-agency efforts of the Organised Crime Task force.


“It is important to recognise that drug and alcohol use can be symptoms of underlying societal problems and that law enforcement is only one aspect of our collaborative response. As a Police Service we will continue to play our part to prevent the importation and supply of illicit and counterfeit drugs by proactively investigating those Organised Crime Groups who supply them.  We have also invested and contributed to multi-agency initiatives to tackle homelessness, addiction to alcohol and/or drugs, poor mental and physical health, and offending behaviour, in Belfast, aiming to support recovery, resettlement and social inclusion of vulnerable people.

"We have 17 officers trained and carrying Naloxone with a further 60 officers recently trained in partnership with the PHA and Community partners., Belfast city centre officers have now administered Naloxone to 25 people following a suspected overdose of illicit drugs. We are working closely with partners to come up with more innovative long term solutions to help build safer communities and tackle this problem, by taking a strong partnership approach with relevant key stakeholders. It is not, of course, a problem unique to Belfast or Northern Ireland and we will continue to work with partner agencies and other forces, including An Garda Síochána and forces throughout Great Britain, to target suppliers and supply lines, and to identify trends which guide our focus.

“We all have a responsibility to help make where we live safer for everyone. Reporting crimes or incidents that impact on your quality of life helps focus our patrols where they are needed and take positive action. If you have information, or concerns, about the illegal use or supply of alcohol or drugs please contact us on 101. Information can also be provided to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at"

Illegal drugs seized recently by PSNI

Kevin Bailey, Regional Lead for Drugs and Alcohol at the Public Health Agency, said:

“Drug and alcohol use is sadly an all too common issue and all drugs, whether illegal drugs or prescription medication, carry risks. The risk of overdose increases when you mix any drugs. Most fatal overdoses involve the use of more than one type of drug, and any combination of prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, illicit drugs and alcohol can be dangerous.


“Mixing different types of drugs is unpredictable, can increase the toxicity of already potentially harmful substances and increases the risk of serious harm. Any drug or medicine has the potential to be a poison – there are only three things that differentiate it. Firstly, what is the dose? If you take too much of it you could die. Secondly, what are you taking it for? If it is not clinically prescribed for you, then it could also be lethal. Thirdly, if you are taking it with something else, for example mixing it with alcohol or other drugs, then it could also cost you your life. It’s important to remember that support services are there for you and available in your local community."

Anyone who thinks they or someone they know might have a problem with alcohol and/or drugs and would like to get help can visit The website also includes details of services available for individuals affected by someone else’s drinking and/or drug misuse.”


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