Concerns over drugs prevelance in Derry : Agencies invited to speak about support and enforcement

Derry & Strabane Council are to invite numerous agencies to update members of their work to support drug users and on enforcement measures.

Monday, 29th March 2021, 12:33 pm
HURT representatives are among those being invited to speak about their work. (Pictured back in 2018 is Derry Girl Saoirse Monica Jackson (Erin) on a visit to National Lottery funded HURT (Have Your Tomorrows) family support group and suicide prevention charity, with staff members Pauline McCloskey, Sadie Reilly, Olivia Smith, Dessie Kyle and Tina Burns.)

The motion brought by Aontú Councillor Emmet Doyle called for the Council to express concern about the prevalence of drugs, noting the year on year increase of recorded drug offences in the North, the increasing numbers of drug-related arrests and the upward trend of drug seizures locally.

It also called for Council to note the public concern relating to re-offenders and justice provisions for those involved in the drug trade and to recognise the fear of drug-related crime in communities despite the work undertaken by the statutory health and social care and community and voluntary sector.

The motion received the support of most, Sinn Féin Colr Aileen Mellon welcoming the multi-agency approach proposed. 

SDLP Colr Sean Mooney said: “The stats from the PSNI reveal that drug related arrests within our district rose from 2019 to 2020 and there appears to be a marginal drop in drug seizures within the same period.

“The numbers of drug related arrests for 2020 were 442 and drug seizures for the same period were 649. The caution here is that these are recorded numbers and they don’t record activity that goes undetected.”

DUP Alderman Hilary McClintock added: “We all know the massive scale of drugs in our community and drugs are almost considered as normal by so many. We know so many young lives in particular have been blighted by the use of drugs.”

An amendment by PBP Councillor Maeve O’Neill to remove the PSNI from the motion fell with 29 against, 4 for and 4 abstentions. Councillor Doyle’s motion passed with 32 votes for, 4 against and 1 abstention.

Council will now invite representatives from the Department of Justice, PSNI, HURT, the Northlands Centre and the Western Trust to brief Members on their work in supporting drug users, and on enforcement.