Hospitals should be a place of safety and sanctuary for those who are suffering, whether their illness is mental or physical.
The Becklin Centre at St James’s has to deal with a number of extremely vulnerable people, some of whom will have a long history of battling addictions and who are suffering from a range of mental health issues.
Dealing with such patients must be complex and challenging.
The mental health charity Mind says: “If you have a history of poor mental health, you may be more likely to experience negative effects with illegal drugs.
“If you have previously had no mental health problems, you may still develop symptoms of a mental health problem from using these drugs.”
It’s a hideous chicken and egg situation for anyone dealing with a drug user with a mental health crisis, and must make diagnosis and treatment even more difficult.
So to find that “friends” are smuggling drugs to patients undergoing such treatments and that dealers are specifically targeting those patients must be soul-destroying.
The day of action at Jimmy’s Becklin centre facility is to be applauded. The staff have shown great courage in calling this to the police and public’s attention - and with the problem having doubled in the past year, it’s not a moment too soon.