Substance Abuse Project Extended

A project tackling drug and alcohol misuse among children is being extended, it has been revealed. The Lifematters programme, which ran in Lisburn, is being extended to cover the Eastern Health Board area.

Delegates at one of the programme’s conferences were told that children as young as eight are being treated for alcohol and substance abuse. Project co-ordinator Raymond McKimm said they had positive results from the pilot scheme.

“Traditional interventions have been preventative and educational in nature,” he said. “Simply making young people more aware of the dangers of substance misuse will not necessarily make them stop using. We focus on the young person themselves, their lives and how they make their choices, strengthening their ability to make healthier choices.”

The young people who took part in the pilot were mainly introduced through the legal system, where their offences could be linked to substance misuse. After completing the early intervention programme, 85% of the young people had no further contact with the criminal justice system.

“The positive results from the Lisburn pilot scheme encouraged us to find ways to increase the geographical area and therefore the number of young people we could serve,” Mr McKimm added.