The Opioids of the People

The United States government has launched a new anti-opioid campaign featuring true stories of people so desperate that they inflicted gruesome injuries on themselves to get another prescription. Such stories have already been more effectively told in poetry. The epidemic’s most searing skald is William Brewer, a son of Oceana, West Virginia, a post-industrial town so gripped by addiction that it is nicknamed Oxyana. We were so hungry; Tom’s hand on the table looked like warm bread. I crushed it … Read more

Prescription drug deaths. Do we not care because most of the victims are poor?

This week’s BBC Spotlight on prescription drug addiction made for grim viewing. We have covered prescription drug abuse before but when you see the faces of the victims and their distraught families it really brings the scale of the issue home to you. There was the mother who can look out her bedroom window and see the grave of her son. The father who was just numb with grief. The mother who had converted her living room into a mini … Read more

Prescription Medicines in the Dock – Who is to blame for the increasing drug deaths in our society?

Ireland bucks the UK trend in drug overdose deaths; here they are more likely to result from “prescription medicines” than “illegal drugs”. Coroners locally implicate; tramadol, oxycodone or fentanyl in overdose more frequently than in England, Scotland or Wales where deaths are mainly linked to; heroin or cocaine. One implication is that prescription medicines are more readily available and, extending this logic, doctors and pharmacists are in some way involved; if we did our jobs better drug deaths would be … Read more

Drug Addiction Services: what is the policy?

We are currently in Belfast experiencing a significant increase in the number of people with drug addictions and I’m informed that similar rises in prevalence are occurring elsewhere.  In addiction things are never simple.  A 24-year-old patient who died back in the spring died of an overdose of opioids – he frequently had a number of fentanyl patches adhered to his body – but he also was a heavy smoker of marijuana and regularly took a range of prescription medicines … Read more

Parents dropping their underage kids off to go drinking in the park…

Over the past few years, there has been a major issue with underage kids drinking in the Falls Park and City Cemetary. At weekends hundreds of children gather to drink, take drugs and do all the usual things that teenagers do. The problem is especially severe in the summer. Underage drinking is not exactly new, but the main issue is the massive vandalism that is going on. Thousands of pounds worth of damage is being caused to the children’s play park. … Read more