CRUN conference focuses on alcohol and drugs issues

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CAUSEWAY Rural and Urban Network hosted a one-day conference dealing with the impact of drugs and alcohol on the family, at the Royal Court Hotel, Portrush earlier this month.

The conference, funded by the Public Health Agency in support of the Northern Drugs and Alcohol Coordination Team’s Local Action Plan, was attended by practitioners and community members from statutory, community and voluntary sector organisations and groups in the Northern area.

Participants gained insight and awareness of the impact drugs and alcohol has on all members of the family, and included presentations and workshops from Barnardos PHAROS project, Onus and Addiction NI.

Topics discussed were ‘hidden harm’ and the effects of parental drug and alcohol misuse on children, domestic violence and substance use and the often neglected area of older people’s alcohol use.

Ann McNickle, CRUN Project Manager, said: “The impact of drugs and alcohol on family members has always been a hidden area and it is intended this conference will heightened awareness of the ripple effects alcohol and other substances have, not just on the users themselves, but on their family members.”

“The conference was an opportunity for practitioners and community members to network and gain an insight into the issues facing vulnerable and isolated people, living day-to-day with the problems of substance misuse within their families.”

Overall comments from the delegates stated how important the issues raised are and that it was timely, given the fact the family members are now recognised as a priority group among those working to tackle substance misuse and it is usually families and carers who need as much support as the individual dealing with addiction and substance misuse.”