Around 2,500 people were treated for drug and alcohol addiction in the Southern Trust area this year.
And in the lead up to Christmas, the Trust is reminding people with addiction issues of the range of support available to them.
Bryce McMurray (pictured) Acting Director of Mental Health and Disability Services said: “For most people the Christmas season is a time we look forward to, but for those affected by drugs, alcohol or other addictions, and indeed their families, coping with the festivities can be a particularly challenging time.
“Along with the physical consequences of drugs and alcohol on the individual, substance abuse and addiction can have a huge emotional, social and economic impact on families and can also contribute to domestic violence, anti-social behaviour and crime.
“We offer a range of treatment and support to individuals and families who need our help.
“This can be in primary care settings, patients’ own homes or in our own Trust clinics and hospitals. We also work closely with a number of community and voluntary organisations like Extern, Dunlewey Substance Advice Centre, Women’s Aid, and De Paul Ireland who offer community based support to people with addictions and their families.
“Our Community Addictions Team provides a range of assessment, care, treatment and support services to increasing numbers of people throughout the area including alcohol and drug dependency withdrawal programmes.
“We also have a number of hospital liaison nurses and an alcohol liaison midwife who work closely with our acute hospital staff to identify and care for patients with drugs or alcohol related issues.
“Because addiction can affect the whole family our Family Intervention Service is also available to offer help and support to spouses, parents or any relative affected by addiction.
“We appeal to people to go to their GP in the first instance who will refer them to Trust services if appropriate or signpost them to one of our community and voluntary partners.”
Referral to Trust Services is usually by a GP and, dependant on the urgency of the request, the person will be seen at a clinic as soon as possible.
The Lifeline Helpline service is available for children, young people and adults to access if in distress or despair by telephoning – 0808 808 8000 – Lifeline has trained counsellors available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to list and provide confidential help and support on issues such as self-harm, abuse, trauma, depression and anxiety and many other issues. Or visit www.lifelinehelpline.info
For more information on drugs and alcohol services log on to http://www.southerntrust.hscni.net/services/1562.htm