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Bairbre de Brún highlights role of communities in tackling the growing problem of Drug and Alcohol abuse

10 December, 2003

Former Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety, West Belfast MLA and Six County EU candidate Bairbre de Brún speaking at the launch of the West Belfast Directory of Services dealing with Local Drugs and Alcohol Problems has highlighted the role of the community in tackling the growing problem of Drug and Alcohol abuse.

Ms de Brún said:

"We need to recognise the reality of drug and alcohol abuse in our communities, but that does not mean that we have to accept it.

"Communities should not accept as a given the harm caused by drug and alcohol abuse, any more than we accept poor housing, massive unemployment or conflict as a given. Communities in West Belfast have campaigned hard to transform the housing situation and to tackle unemployment and we are now involved in a process of conflict resolution.

"We need to understand that we have the power to tackle the many problems facing the health of our community also, not least the scourge of drug and alcohol abuse and we are more than up to the task.

"The joint implementation process model developed while I was minister is based on joint working groups on Communities, Treatment, Education and Prevention, Research and Information, Social Legislation And Criminal Justice with the community sector having 20 seats throughout the structures. The voluntary and community sector take the lead on the Communities working group." ENDS

Note to Editors

The directory is going to every home in West Belfast and aims to provide local and immediate help to families or individuals who are touched with drug and/or alcohol crisis. 20,000 copies will go out with the Andersonstown News the day after the launch (Thursday).

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