A new centre which aims to tackle the misuse of alcohol and drugs has opened in Bangor.
The Forum for Action on Substance Abuse and Suicide Awareness centre (FASA) is situated on Queen’s Parade.
It aims to deliver education, treatment and crisis intervention services particularly in relation to alcohol, drugs and other substance misuse, as well as suicide and self harm.
Health Minister Michael McGimpsey said local people would receive great benefits from the centre.
“This new centre means that the people of Bangor will be able to benefit from the range of services that FASA delivers — services that have the potential to improve the quality of life and the health and well-being of this community,” he said.
FASA takes a holistic approach to addressing issues for individuals, families and communities, and recognises the connection between substance misuse, suicide and self harm and their many underlying social and personal causes.
The Minister continued: “I want to congratulate FASA on their achievement in opening this new centre. I also want to acknowledge the commitment and dedication of all the individuals, and community and voluntary organisation, such as FASA, who work in the substance misuse and suicide prevention fields.
“They perform very difficult and emotionally draining jobs, often with little recognition or reward, but they can have a real impact on the lives of some of the most vulnerable and at risk people in our society, and help to make our communities better places to live.”
Karen Booth, FASA centre manager, said the new premises aimed to become a one stop shop for people with problems such as alcohol and drugs.
“Anyone can walk in off the street and we can help them,” she said.
“We offer counselling, mentoring and a range of programmes for those in need as well as community support for specific areas in North Down and Ards.”
With three full-time and three part-time staff, as well as a number of volunteers, the centre is open on weekdays from 9am to 5pm.
If anyone needs help during non-working hours they can telephone the Lifeline support number on 0808 8088000 for similar guidance and support.