Charity Depaul warns drug use in Derry has never been so bad

A charity that offers support for the homeless and many living with addiction has seen a big jump in demand for services with people desperate and in despair.

One worker warned that despite their blood, sweat and tears, it was not enough to help the many people looking to them for help.

"It is now time for a workable government to be able to support us," said Depaul chief executive David Carroll.

Figures released on Thursday show that in Northern Ireland over 4,000 households presented as homeless to the Housing Executive in a three-month period this year. That was marginally lower than the number which presented in the same period in 2021.

A person or household is classified as homeless if they haven’t got a suitable permanent home.

Of those that presented to the Housing Executive, following assessment, there were 2,336 households which were deemed homeless. A third were found to be homeless due to their accommodation not being suitable - with the majority of them having a health or physical disability issues.

Depaul's Foyle Haven centre has had an extra 100 people coming to them this year. Many living with drug addiction and struggling with the cost of living.

Mr Carroll told UTV the cost-of-living crisis was having a big impact.

"We are seeing on the ground increased drug and alcohol use, increased suicidality," he said.

"And the cost-of-living crisis is having a big impact on people's ability to be able to keep their homes going".

Depaul staff say more people are rough sleeping in the city with many using drugs and it is only a matter of time before someone dies.

Naloxone a medicine that rapidly reverses an opioid overdose has been used 40 times in the centre so far this year.

Sharon Hartwell from Foyle Haven said: "I've never seen it as bad. It's dire at the moment.

"With the likes of ketamine and heroin it's the polydrug use that we worry about. They come in here in a terrible state. It's really really sad the amount of young people who are polydrug users and drinking alcohol at the same time."

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