Statement on behalf of the OCTF Drugs sub group following the release of NISRA Drugs statistics

04 March 2019

Commenting on the release of the NISRA drugs related death statistics, Detective Superintendent Bobby Singleton, Chair of the Organised Crime Task Force’s Drugs sub-group said today; “The publication of these official statistics provides evidence that demonstrates our shared concern that Northern Ireland has a growing problem with potentially fatal drug misuse.


“When we talk about drug misuse and related deaths people often assume that we must mean illicit drugs like heroin, cocaine and ecstasy. Whilst these drugs cause serious harm and can be fatal, the majority of deaths in Northern Ireland are due to the misuse of a variety of prescription medicines, often with alcohol and illicit drugs.


“The loss of a loved one is heart breaking for families. The harm and hurt caused by drug misuse is cross cutting and impacts people’s lives at every level in Northern Ireland.


“The causes, complexity and pervasiveness of drug misuse and the harm it causes means that no one agency can tackle it alone. It is vital that we continue to work together using a coordinated, partnership-based approach that recognises the common goals we all share – to keep people safe by reducing crime, improving life chances and protecting the most vulnerable.” 



Notes to editors


1.     A detailed question and answer sheet about drugs and the work carried out by organisations can be found at


2.      More information on the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency statistics can be found at


3.      The OCTF was established in 2000 and works to reduce the harm caused by organised crime, through multi agency partnership and to secure a safe community in Northern Ireland, where we respect the law and each other.

  1. OCTF provides an essential strategic leadership forum for tackling organised crime in Northern Ireland.

5.      For all media queries, please contact the DOJ Press Office on 028 9052 6444. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 028 9037 8110 and your call will be returned