Derry City Council is to lobby the two Health Ministers on both sides of the border in a bid to get an all-island detox unit established at Whiteoaks.
The move was proposed by Sinn Fein Councillor Elisha McCallion at this week’s Full Council meeting.
Colr McCallion proposed that the council write to the Ministers to get them to call on the Western Health and Social Care and the Health and Safety Executive to work together with the cross-border body Co-operation and Working Together (CAWT) and other agencies to consider such a move.
A slight amendment was made at the suggestion of Independent Councillor Dee Quigley to take into account a massive petition locally calling for a detox facility.
A further amendment by Derek Hussey was also adopted. It stated that the new detox centre should be called for “in conjunction with those excellent facilities already existing at Tyrone & Omagh”.
Colr. McCallion said there was a detox facility erected at Whiteoaks which was now “nothing more than a broom cupboard since it was built”.
She said that cross-border joint working made sense, especially as there were some parents in the north west “who have been desperate to try and help their children access detox services”, who have been told services are only available as far away as Galway.
“It is nothing short of disgraceful that Whiteoaks is sitting unused”, she said.
SDLP Councillor Brian Tierney said that there was a “massive need” for a detox unit and said there was real need for a ‘wet’ facility as part of this to allow people to dry out.
“There is nowhere for people to go to to dry out. People are sent home and told to come back when they have been 14 days dry. People go five-six-seven days, they’re focused but once you come to the weekend their focus starts to break.”