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Problem drinkers 'need new drug now'

A potentially ground-breaking drug that could help problem drinkers should be prescribed immediately to patients who need it, campaigners have said.

Addiction NI and FASA made the comments following the ministerial announcement that £1.5m had been released to pay for the drugs approved by watchdog National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. They are now calling for the HSCB to officially advise GPs that nalmefene - developed to help those with alcohol dependency - should be made more accessible.

The drug was approved last October but campaigners feared funding problem in the health service may have resulted in delays in making the drug available and preventing effective treatment.

Both Addiction NI and FASA are now calling for the Health and Social Care Board to ensure those in most need can receive treatment. The drug works by reducing the release of dopamine in the brain, lessening the "buzz" associated with alcohol.

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