The mother of tragic Derry teenager Andrew Quigley is to seek the support of Derry City Council for her campaign to have a detox facility opened in the city.
Colette Quigley, whose son was recovered from the River Foyle several weeks after he went missing earlier this year, is set to speak in person before the Regional Services Committee meeting on Tuesday.
Andrew Quigley (19), died after battling with drug and alcohol addiction.
His mother has previously spoken of her attempts to find help for him and has called for an effective crisis intervention service.
Ms Quigley will be joined by another of those spearheading the campaign, Marie Buckley.
Colette’s brother, Dee Quigley, who has just been elected to the new Derry-Strabane Supercouncil, said that the campaign was gathering momentum.
A number of those involved in the campaign have been receiving training in counselling and crisis with Derry charity HURT and other organisations.
Speaking at a ‘Detox Campaign’ meeting in the Derry City FC Social Club, Councillor Quigley said: “We are going to take the deputation into Derry City Council to get their support.
“Hopefully, we will be able to take it up through the party political lines and it will feed back in to the bigger parties who have Ministerial roles.”
Veteran civil rights activist and long-term campaigner for a detox centre, Fionnbarra O’Dochartaigh said the addiction issues facing the city needed to be addressed as a matter of urgency.
He said: “It has been a growing problem over recent years and Foyle Search and Rescue which we support and we think they should get more funding. They have rescued 40 people over these last months alone.
“This whole campaign really took off on Facebook. Then when Andrew Quigley went missing hundreds of people were involved in trying to recover the body.
“On Tuesday now we are meeting the City Council the Regional Services Committee and then after that we go and meet the health committee in Stormont and hope eventually to present the petition to the Minister of Health Edwin Poots and we already have something like 50,000 signatures which is quite an achievement.
“It’s just ordinary people out doing the foot slogging and we need all the support we can get.”
He added: “Every week, every month matters, lives are being lost in this town. Drugs is a major issue. Years ago I didn’t really realise how bad it was. Now that I know we have to do something about it and do it very quick.”
During the detox meeting, a number of those in attendance spoke of how there was “no A to B” crisis intervention detox facility. The only facilities available were the “C” stage.
Local woman Monica McClements said there needed to be more funding for vital rescue and detox facilities.
“So many of our young people have gone into that river and they hand money out for arts projects, trips for the Clipper festival, they are not necessary, our young people are. They are our future,” she said.