20th to 26th June is Alcohol Awareness Week and ASCERT is promoting the availability of local supports.
Community concern often focuses on illegal drugs but in fact the drug that causes the greatest damage in Northern Ireland is alcohol. Around 80% of adults in NI drink alcohol and about a quarter of those drink at levels that is likely to be causing them real harm and increased risk of addiction.
There are services across Northern Ireland to provide support to people who are at a point where they feel their drinking is causing concerns and to help reduce their drinking or stop altogether.
These are free, confidential and delivered in the community, within easy reach of wherever you live. ASCERT will work with you to set realistic and achievable goals to reduce the impact your drinking is having on you and others around you.
Gary McMichael, ASCERT Chief Executive said, “Often the person drinking or the family or friends around them know when things are becoming a problem but only seek help when things have gotten so bad that it has reached crisis point, and this is when it can be most difficult to get to grips with the problem. But if help is sought at an earlier stage then the easier it will be to make changes and avoid the crisis ever coming.”
Addiction doesn’t just affect the person with the drink or drugs problem. Research has shown that a person’s addiction directly impacts on the wellbeing of another 4 people around them. Often the focus is on the needs of the person with the drinking or substance use problem and the needs of other people in the family are ignored.
Chris McMahon, ASCERT Service Manager said, “The spouse or partner may be having to manage the situation within the family and under constant stress and strain, trying to keep things on an even keel, keeping up appearances to those around them. Or the grandparents may be are caring more and more for the children in the family as things are getting worse. Those people have needs in their own right and if these are ignored then they are likely to experience problems themselves.
ASCERT can also support the other people in the family affected by substance use, even if the person drinking or using drugs doesn’t want help.
We have an open referral process so the person seeking help can contact us directly, or we will take a referral from a GP or other professional engaged with the person. Call us on 0800 2545 123 or visit www.ascert.biz for information.
ASCERT delivers these services in the Belfast, South Eastern and Western Trusts. If you live in another Trust, you can still contact us and we will provide you with information on the services available in your area.