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Local MLA behind Assembly group on addiction and dual diagnosis

The East Derry MLA helped establish the group's first meeting last week.

Local MLA behind Assembly group on addiction and dual diagnosis

East Derry MLA Cara Hunter.

An East Derry MLA has helped establish an Assembly group that will work on a cross party basis to improve outcomes for those suffering from addiction.

Local SDLP representative, Cara Hunter, alongside party colleague Paul McCusker, has established an All Party Group (APG) on Addiction and Dual Diagnosis.

The group held its first online meeting last week, with representatives from mental health groups across NI, as well as Mental Health Champion Professor Siobhan O'Neill, in attendance.

Ms Hunter said removing the stigma attached to addiction was one of the group's main challenges.

“I am delighted to have established an All-Party Group on Addiction and Dual Diagnosis and I thank colleagues across the Assembly for their support,” she said.

“It is absolutely crucial that we destigmatise addiction and improve outcomes for the many people across our society who struggle with it.”

“Our hope for this All-Party Group is that we work with service users, stakeholders and charities to support learning.

“As policymakers, it is incumbent on all of us to work together, to seek to create more health focused, harm reduction models, that provides support for those suffering with addiction.”

“Only by working together on a cross party and cross-departmental basis will we better support those struggling at their lowest. It is great we are now taking the first step.

“I look forward to working with colleagues across the Assembly to make an impact on this important issue.”

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