Responsibility for tackling alcohol and drugs-related deaths cannot be shirked, says Bradshaw

Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has said figures showing drug-related deaths among males here have almost doubled in the past decade show the need to prioritise mental well-being services and to reallocate resources to therapeutic and counselling services.

The South Belfast MLA was speaking after statistics by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency showed the number of males dying increased by 98 per cent between 2007 and 2017. Some 74 per cent of all drug-related deaths in Northern Ireland are of males.

“The level of male drugs-related deaths is now remaining firmly at double the level ten years ago and absolutely cannot be tolerated any longer. Too many lives are being lost too young, and too many families are suffering,” said Ms Bradshaw.

“We need to take the opportunity offered by transformation of health and social care to ensure counselling can be accessed in a timely manner and therapeutic services are immediately available. Not to deliver these causes a crippling impact on the Health Service and, more importantly, on individuals and families.

“Too often people are left to face hugely challenging health conditions and challenges alone, without the requisite support, and there remains a stigma around opening up about the impact. Levels of drugs and alcohol-related deaths, and of suicide, are far too high and yet we still see political leaders shirking their responsibility to manage the transformation process to tackle them. Too many people are paying too high a price.”
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