Sinn Féin MLA Padraig Delargy said the disproportionate number of admissions from Derry shows a dedicated detox centre is urgently needed in the city.
Speaking in the Stormont Assembly this week he praised young campaigner Tamzin White, who lost her mother Louise to addiction earlier this year, for reigniting the campaign for an addiction treatment facility in Derry.
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"Recently, the campaign for a detox centre in Derry has intensified. Having started in 2014, the campaign ebbed and flowed but was recently given a new lease of life by a young Derry woman called Tamzin White. Tamzin has campaigned vociferously for a detox centre in the north-west to cater for those in our city and area who are battling addiction.
"Why does Derry need one? There is a dedicated detox centre in Omagh, and one third of the patients there are from Derry. The work done in Omagh is spectacular, and I want to take this opportunity to thank the staff for their dedication and commitment to each and every patient.
"Derry does, however, have a disproportionate number of admissions to the centre, reinforcing the need for an additional facility in the north-west," said Mr. Delargy.
Tamzin White petition for detox centre in memory of mum Louise signed by over 9,000 and submitted to StormontThe Foyle MLA noted how the enduring impacts of the pandemic have already had an impact on mental health outcomes.
"That is already causing devastation to many families, and while I am acutely aware of the challenges facing the Health Minister, I ask him to prioritise putting in place the necessary resources to tackle poor mental health.
"A detox centre represents an important first step in addressing that. It represents a pivotal piece of the puzzle. It represents one part of a bigger picture — one that shows joined-up strategic thinking and that supports all those in need of mental health support. However, we cannot stop there.
"A detox centre is not a tick box. It is not case closed. It is the beginning of addressing the mental health crisis in Derry and the beginning of removing the stigma around poor mental health, and I implore the Health Minister to act swiftly to save lives in our town," he said.