Belfast Telegraph

Help for addiction is widely available, insists Western health trust

Assistance for people fighting addiction in Londonderry is available
Assistance for people fighting addiction in Londonderry is available "around the clock", the Western Trust has said
Donna Deeney

By Donna Deeney

Assistance for people fighting addiction in Londonderry is available "around the clock", the Western Trust has said.

The trust spoke out after a mother voiced fears her son would die from his addiction to counterfeit medication.

Christine Deehan told yesterday's Belfast Telegraph that her son attended Altnagelvin Area Hospital on Friday night suffering from the effects of his addiction.

He was taken to a place of safety from Craigavon Bridge by police the next morning.

Mrs Deehan and her husband Gerald lost their daughter Amanda (34) in January after she relapsed in her fight against her addiction to prescription and counterfeit drugs.

The Western Trust said a number of different avenues were open to people who wanted help with addiction.

It added: "The Western Trust provides inpatient and outpatient services for drugs and alcohol addiction.

"This includes an eight-bed complex detoxification unit based at the Asha Centre at the Tyrone and Fermanagh Hospital in Omagh.

"There are two community addiction teams - one in the northern sector (Woodlea House, Derry) and one in the southern sector of the trust (the South West Acute Hospital and Tyrone and Fermanagh Hospital). (These are) multi-disciplinary teams that specialise in drug and alcohol assessment and treatment.

"(This) may include community detoxification, brief intervention, advice, education, crisis management and cognitive behaviour therapy.

"Alcohol and opiate detoxification is also available on an outpatient or inpatient basis when clinically indicated by assessment."

A pilot Community Crisis Intervention Service (CCIS), launched in Derry last January is also available during peak demand times from Thursday evening to Sunday mornings.

This is a community-led service for individuals who are observed to be in distress and potentially vulnerable and who may be at risk of suicidal behaviour.

Joe Thompson from the CCIS said the service would do all it could to help those in danger.

"The people who come to us have a wide range of issues that they may be finding difficult to deal with," he added.

"Addiction is a very complicated issue and requires specialist intervention.

"But if people are in distress and are suicidal, they can come in to us.

"We are a non-clinical service, which is something new.

"What we offer is a space for people to come into that is safe, welcoming and warm.

"They can talk with people who won't judge them and who will listen to and treat them like human beings.

"We help in a collaborative way. We devise a safety plan that is going to keep them alive for the duration of the rest of the weekend to such times as they can link in with their GP or mental health team.

"We are based on Bishop Street in Derry in a neutral environment.

"No matter where someone lives in the city, we are no more than 20 minutes away.

"The fact that someone can come here and be seen quite quickly can make the difference in keeping someone alive."

You can reach a member of the CCIS team by calling 028 7126 2300 between 8pm on Thursday and 8am on Sunday.

Anyone who is struggling with addiction can also speak to Lifeline counsellors 24 hours a day on 0808 808 8000.

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