Upper Bann MLA Sydney Anderson has claimed there is a ‘drugs crisis’ in Banbridge after 121 drug related incidents were reported the PSNI in just one year.
Between May 2014 and May 2015, there were 453 incidents reported to the PSNI across the Upper Bann area, 121 of which were in Banbridge.
Notably, 119 drug related incidents were reported to the police in Portadown whilst 136 incidents were reported in Lurgan.
Upper Bann MLA Sydney Anderson, a former member of the Stormont Justice Committee has followed recent events closely.
He said: “I am overwhelmed to learn that over 450 drug related incidents were reported to the PSNI in the Upper Bann constituency in a 12 month period. This clearly highlights that there is a genuine drugs crisis which is inflicting real damage on our local area.
“Tragically, in recent years numerous people in Upper Bann have lost their lives because of drugs and many families have been devastated. Sadly, it is not only our own local area but many places across Northern Ireland which havebeen deeply scarred by drug related incidents.”
He added: “It is vital that the community as a whole unite together to fight this Continued from page 1
drug problem head on. In particular the PSNI, the new ABC Policing and Community Safety Partnership, local schools, youth organisations and other community groups have an important duty to challenge the problems drugs pose to our society.
“I know that the PSNI in the area have done much work to fight this drug problem and in recent years they have been successful in dismantling numerous drug making factories. They have also helped to develop programmes to raise awareness of the effects of drugs and the risks they carry.
“Additionally, I am aware that local schools and youth organisations have devoted time and resources to drug awareness education which has helped to increase young people’s understanding of drug misuse and how they can lead healthy lifestyles. The pro-active approach adopted by the police, schools, and other organisations has to be welcomed and encouraged wholeheartedly.”
Mr Anderson concluded: “Moving forward it is vital that the PSNI’s commitment to fighting the local drugs crisis continues and also schools, youth groups and other community organisations continue to work effectively to challenge drug misuse. We as a society cannot afford to brush this drug epidemic under the carpet.
“Instead we must face this serious problem head on and we must be committed to ensuring the drug dealers who peddle drugs in our local communities are imprisoned for their destructive activities. I would urge anyone who has any knowledge of criminal activity or concerns about suspicious actions to contact the PSNI to help them combat the local drugs scourge.”