Derry Detox Centre rally: ‘Our city has been crying out for help for years’

Detox Centre for Derry campaigner Tamzin White has told a rally in Guildhall Square how ‘no family should have to suffer’ as hers has.

Speakers at the Detox Protest Rally held in Guildhall Square on Saturday afternoon last, Tamzin White, organiser, Mayor Alderman Graham Warke, Colr, Emma McGinley and Colr. Emmet Doyle.    Photo: George Sweeney. DER2133GS – 037
Speakers at the Detox Protest Rally held in Guildhall Square on Saturday afternoon last, Tamzin White, organiser, Mayor Alderman Graham Warke, Colr, Emma McGinley and Colr. Emmet Doyle. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2133GS – 037

The teenager addressed the crowd gathered on Saturday afternoon at the rally calling for a detox centre, at which Derry and Strabane District Mayor Alderman Graham Warke and Councillors Emma McGinley and Emmet Doyle also spoke.

The event follows seven months of campaigning, spearheaded by Tamzin, whose mother, Louise (40) died in January following a long battle with addiction.

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Tamzin told those gathered how she and her two younger sisters miss their mother ‘terribly’ and added how she had also lost several other relatives to addiction and suicide.

Organiser Tamzin White speaking at the Detox Protest Rally held in Guildhall Square on Saturday afternoon last. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2133GS – 039

“No family should have to suffer the way mine has,” Tamzin said.

“My story mirrors so many other families here in Derry. We need the measures and facilities in place to help these families that are struggling today. Our city has been crying out for help for years. The people in power need to take action, because addiction is destroying and tearing families apart.”

Tamzin commended the Northlands Centre and Whiteoaks for the ‘great work’ they do in supporting people with addiction and said more investment in these services is needed. She also called for further detox services and provision from the Health Minister and his department.

Mayor Warke commended Tamzin for her campaign and said her ‘courage and dignity’ was an inspiration to all. He pledged his support to the campaign for a detox centre for the city, the need for which he has seen at first hand.

“Addiction has touched the lives of everyone in this council area in some shape or form and we can’t wait any longer for services, support and care for those in distress. Alcohol and drug related deaths are rising day by day and we need action to stop that trend.”

Mayor Warke added how he has had to drive for miles to the detox centre in Omagh to visit family members and that ‘shouldn’t be happening.’

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Colr. Emma McGinley, speaking in place of Karen Mullan MLA, who couldn’t be in attendance, said it is ‘no secret that the number of people facing issues with addiction and mental health in the city and district is high and on the rise.’

“It isn’t good enough that people are forced to wait weeks, months and even years for help or that loved ones have to leave the City and their families for detox services.”

Colr Emmett Doyle said those involved in the campaign have been undertaking months of research on addiction and its impact in the district. He told how numbers seeking help for drug and addiction services are increasing and that the ‘vast majority’ of those attending Omagh are from Derry and Strabane,

He added that ‘people are dying’ and ‘we can no longer accept and should never have had to accept’ the ‘half a loaf’ approach from Stormont.

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Colr Doyle outlined how, since the start of the pandemic, 1000 people have presented themselves to A&E due to alcohol and drugs issues. He added that a report has been put together, which will be presented to officials in the coming weeks. “When you read it, I’d like you to remember that the campaign is not ‘Derry asks nicely for a detox centre’ or ‘Derry pleads for detox centre’ it’s ‘Derry demands a detox centre.”

See Derry Demands a Detox Centre on Facebook to follow the campaign.