Plans are underway to formalise Derry’s Detox campaign, with a new draft constitution published ahead of the organisation’s first annual general meeting in the Spring.
The campaign group will go under the name ‘Detox4Derry’ and a new Steering Group has been set up to ensure the foundations are laid for the new body before ratification at the AGM.
Local film-maker Gavin Patton, who created the much lauded ‘Derry Detoxed’ documentary film, is chair of the Steering Group.
Campaign founder and Secretary of the Steering Group ,Fionnbarra O Dochartaigh, warned that the campaign was very much alive and determined that the fight for facilities would continue.
He told the ‘Journal’ yesterday that, between those who have signed the petition and other supporters, there are an estimated 70,000 people who have backed the campaign.
“This is about formalising that and creating a structure to take this forward.
“Our choice is now to accept what has been done - the unit going to Omagh, and we don’t begrudge that going to Omagh, but Derry has been at crisis point for a number of years - or that we do not forget all about it and carry on in a more structured way.
“We have cross-party political support and we welcome all other support.
“We want to save lives and we want to change life-styles. We need the support of all the people - the River Foyle does not discriminate between black or white, orange or green.”
Under the draft constitution, the group’s primary role is identified as being a campaigning, grass-roots alliance to secure a dedicated 24/7 intervention detox crisis unit in Derry.
We want to save lives and we want to change life-styles.Fionnbarra O Dochartaigh
In addition, it will focus on educational and other assistance to benefit people affected by substance abuse, their families, friends, and local communities.
Such activities will continue to include participation in searches for remains along the banks of the River Foyle, or on land for persons officially reported as missing”.
All activities will be on a cross-border, cross-community and non-profit making basis, and the group will focus upon lobbying, research, social-networking with elected or other voluntary bodies, academics, concerned families and individual citizens, on a face-to-face basis and/or via the Internet.
The Steering Group will be a temporary or ad hoc executive prior to the first A.G.M, and will regularly handle affairs, including attempting to mobilise support from local churches, local schools, students and trade unions, public representatives, health authorities, media, and members of the public including addicts, partners and family members, signposting and fundraising.