The father of a young man who collapsed and died in the toilet of a Belfast cafe after taking heroin has told UTV drug dealers are “vultures” killing those hooked on deadly drugs.
Christopher Connor’s son Aaron was just 21 when he died, after five years battling addiction.
Frantic staff tried to help the young man, but his body was already shutting down.
Aaron leaves behind a heartbroken family – and a baby daughter who is just seven months old.
His distraught dad is now putting his own grief aside to call for more to be done to tackle drugs on Northern Ireland’s streets and to urge addicts to try to get clean.
“We don’t want another family to go through what we’re going through,” he said.
“We haven’t even started to grieve – I’m afraid to grieve because the pain I have at the minute is too scary. Last night, I didn’t want to close my eyes because I didn’t want to see him.”
Aaron’s older brother Paul has also struggled with drug abuse in the past, but has been clean for six years and had desperately hoped his sibling would turn a corner.
“He went through the exact same thing I did,” he said, adding that he just wanted stability and happiness for his little brother.
“Long-term happiness is found in not needing anybody that drags you down like that, that uses you.”
The growing availability of heroin has been a problem in Northern Ireland for some time.
Aaron’s family say he talked about being able to buy the deadly opioid for as little as £5, purposely sold so cheaply to get people hooked.
“It’s devastated me – absolutely ruined me,” Christopher said, of his son’s loss.
“My boy … He’s only a kid. Only a kid.”