Greater cooperation needed for addiction treatment - McLaughlin
Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin has said health minister Jim Wells is failing those dealing with addiction issues by ruling out cross-border cooperation in the north west.
The chair of the Assembly's health committee said;
"Dealing with addiction is one of the most important health issues we face today.
"Problems associated with substance abuse and addiction do not recognise borders and neither should the strategies put in place to deal with them.
"In Derry we have a purpose-built detox and addiction treatment facility on our doorstep at Whiteoaks, just over the border in Donegal.
"However, this facility is not operational because of a lack of cross-border cooperation.
"I raised this issue with the previous health minister who said he would explore greater cooperation with the two health boards.
"The current health minister, however, has now ruled out increased cooperation over Whiteoaks.
"That is unacceptable and is failing all of those who are struggling with addiction.
"Addiction issues cost the health service £250 million a year and we must be exploring new and innovative ways of tackling it.
"Health is an area where it has been proven that cross-border cooperation can make a real difference. The minister could now make a real difference to the lives of families dealing with addiction if the political will existed."