Heroin Addiction on the Rise in Belfast

Heroin addiction is prevalent across the UK and is causing widespread concern; many experts warn that if this trend continues, we could have a serious problem. Heroin is an extremely powerful and addictive drug that can change the behaviour of the addicted individual; it can result in the person acting in a way in which they would not have done previously.

It is common for addicts to turn to crime to fund their addiction, and this can result in devastating consequences for themselves and their loved ones. Maggie Henderson-McCarroll is a perfect example of this as she has let her crippling heroin addiction affect her life so much that she is now on trial for murder.

Increase in Heroin Addictions

It would appear that the problem of heroin addiction is reaching epic proportions in Northern Ireland. During Ms Henderson-McCarroll’s bail hearing for the murder of pensioner Eddie Girvan, a senior drugs counsellor alluded to this fact. He claimed that Belfast is in the grip of a heroin epidemic as Mexican cartels work hard to get the drug into Northern Ireland. The counsellor also explained that there had been an eighty per cent rise in the number of individuals seeking assistance for a heroin addiction in the past three years.

Suspicion of Murder

Henderson-McCarroll has suffered from a heroin addiction for many years. She was arrested on suspicion of Mr Girvan’s murder after she admitted to police that Girvan regularly paid her for sex, but on the morning of his death, the two had had an argument after Girvan refused to pay her. Girvan was found with his ankles and hands tied together; he also had stab wounds, including a severe injury to his chest. He also had kitchen paper stuffed in his mouth, which is what ultimately caused his death (he had suffocated).

Long-Standing Heroin Addiction

Henderson-McCarroll pleaded not guilty to a list of offences including the murder or Girvan. Crown prosecutor Robin Steer said that he fears she would re-offend due to her ‘long-standing’ heroin addiction while defence barrister John McCrudden QC explained that his client “has the criminal record of a drug addict… there are no two ways about it”. However, he also said that she had not abused drugs since September and had passed two drugs tests.

Head of Belfast Trust’s drugs outreach team Michael Foley testified for the accused and said that she had not been abusing drugs and, if granted bail, she could make use of a daily drop-in service and weekly therapy session. Mr Foley also explained that there has been a substantial increase in the number of people requiring assistance with a heroin addiction and that the PSNI have revealed that ‘Mexican cartels are trying to import heroin into Northern Ireland’.

Notorious Drug User

Mr Justice Treacy said that Girvan’s death was a ‘pretty horrific murder’. He added that Henderson-McCarroll not only made several admissions to police but also had 96 previous convictions. The judge said that she was a ‘notorious drug user’ and that in terms of considering bail, the fact that she had been free of drugs for a short period while behind bars did not carry much weight. He described her as ‘someone who poses a lethal risk to other members of the community’ and said that it was the court’s duty to ‘protect the community from serious violence’.

He said he was worried that she could return to drug use if released on bail and could ‘go off on one’ and kill or injure another person. He felt that the fact that she was making progress while behind bars was good, and said, “Why jeopardise that now?”

Help and Support

Here at UKAT, we know the devastation that a heroin addiction can cause. If you have an addiction to this substance, we urge you to give us a call right now, before your life spirals out of control. Our main aim is to ensure that you successfully overcome your addiction in a safe and comfortable environment; we want nothing more than for you to go on to lead a happy and sober life going forward.

Our clinics have been designed so that they ensure maximum comfort for our patients and our fully trained staff are welcoming and understanding. We know that many people fear rehabilitation as they are worried that they will, among other things, be judged; however, rest assured that you will not be judged by anyone in our clinics. If you require further information or have any general enquiries or queries about our services or any of the treatments we provide, contact us today. We will be more than happy to assist you on your journey to sobriety.

Source: Belfast in grip of heroin epidemic, court told (Belfast Telegraph)