Derry needs a crisis centre - council told

Fionnbarra O'Dochartaigh, Thomas Timoney, Gavin Patton and George Cairns from the group Detox for Derry
Fionnbarra O'Dochartaigh, Thomas Timoney, Gavin Patton and George Cairns from the group Detox for Derry
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A group campaigning for a detox centre has told Derry City and Strabane Council that the North West needs a crisis and intervention centre for people battling drugs and alcohol addiction.

In an unanimous show of support councillors backed a proposal by Sinn Fein’s Christopher Jackson that council send a delegation to FASA with the aim of developing a project similar to the Nightingale crisis service..

At the meeting of the Health and Community committee Fionbarra O’Dochartaigh from Detox 4 Derry said the detox centre in Omagh was too far away to benefit the people of Derry.

Mr. O’ Dochartaigh the problem of drugs in Derry was so bad, children as young as 13 were selling legals highs.

Recovering alcoholic Gavin Patton who made a documentary about addiction said the fear of no detox centre was one of the reasons that kept people using.

“I have had first hand experience of what many of the people in my film were talking about,” he said. “One night I walked across the Foyle Bridge and I looked over, I understood why people would jump. I thought I could end it all here. Thankfully I didn’t.”

Mr O’Dochartaigh told councillors that the plan was now to take the campaign into schools and youth groups and show Gavin’s documentary.

Councillor Darren O’Reilly said the community sector was being strangled and statutory agencies were getting away scot free.

“This is a pandemic,” he said. “We need crisis intervention, we need crisis talks.”