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Deputy First Minister opens conference on celebrating recovery from addiction

28 May, 2008

Sinn Féin deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness MP MLA today officially opened a conference entitled "A Celebration of Recovery" which was hosted by Northlands, a local community-based independent addiction treatment centre.

Speaking at the conference, which aimed to provide insight and offer hope to individuals and their families who experience at first hand the consequences of addiction behaviour, Martin McGuiness said:

"There is no doubt that addiction can have a devastating impact. Not only on the individuals directly affected - but also on their families and friends, and on communities and society.

"However, I hope today's event provides a positive message to all those affected, directly or indirectly, by addiction, and that we encourage more people to engage with the holistic treatment and support services offered by organisations, such as Northlands."

Mr McGuiness also said:

"Addressing the harm related to alcohol and drug misuse will continue to be a priority for this Government. Through the Department of Health's New Strategic Direction for Alcohol and Drugs, we have a platform and strategy for cross sectoral, cross Government action preventing and addressing substance misuse - and we must continue to use this opportunity to improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in the North of Ireland." ENDS


  1. The New Strategic Direction for Alcohol and Drugs can be found at:
  2. Statistics on Alcohol and Drugs Misuse:
  • 5583 individuals were in treatment for drug and/or alcohol misuse on March 1 2007
  • Excess alcohol consumption costs the North of Ireland approximately £770million per annum
  • 43% of male and 33% of female drinkers currently binge drink (Binge drinkers were defined as men who drank 10 or more units at one sitting, or women who drank seven or more units at one sitting)
  • Levels of regular illicit drug use among adults have plateaued in recent years, with the exception of cocaine which is showing a small increase in prevalence
  • 28% of 15-64 year-olds have taken illicit drugs at least once
  • Main illicit drug is cannabis, with 25% of all adults reporting ever having used it; 7% reported use in the last year before; and 3% in the last month.

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