Praise for counselling staff

Deputy Mayor Gary Middleton at the launch of the Joint Conference of the Foyle/Derry Alcohol Forum, with, from left are Harry Crossan, Mary Slevin, Jim McCallion, Dr. Ann Kilgannon, John Mahon, Victor Robinson, Karen Sharkey, Conal Doherty and Sadie O'Reilly. INLS0815MC004
Deputy Mayor Gary Middleton at the launch of the Joint Conference of the Foyle/Derry Alcohol Forum, with, from left are Harry Crossan, Mary Slevin, Jim McCallion, Dr. Ann Kilgannon, John Mahon, Victor Robinson, Karen Sharkey, Conal Doherty and Sadie O'Reilly. INLS0815MC004

Alderman Gary Middleton has paid tribute to those working to reduce the impact of drugs and alcohol misuse in the community.

Speaking after attending the Drug and Alcohol conference at the City hotel on Thursday, Mr Middleton thanked those who attended and stressed the importance of understanding the serious issues around the abuse of drugs and alcohol and the impact on the community.

“The role played by the community forum is vital in identifying the challenges presented by drug and alcohol abuse and, more importantly, finding the solutions needed to effectively tackle these problems head on. This issue is probably one of the biggest problems faced by our society and one that is fuelled by a number of other factors prevalent in our city today, namely unemployment, lack of hope and opportunity, and inadequate support services for those who find themselves in crisis,” he said.

Noting how it also played a part in the suicide rate as people struggled to come to terms with the economic and emotional side effects of their addiction, he paid tribute to the work of organisations such as HURT and the Foyle Drug and Alcohol Programme, saying without their support many families would be unable to cope: “Their work is essential in devising the strategy this city needs to tackle this problem effectively.”