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Drinkers urged to think first

Published: Tue, 10 Nov 2015
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Pictured at the launch of the "Drink Think" project were (front l to r) Mary Breslin, Bogside and Brandywell Health Forum and PSNI Inspector Jonathan Hunter. (Back row l to r) Sandra Holden, PCSP, Lavern Mason, NIHE, Eric McGinley, chairperson of PCSP and Susan Harkin, Bogside and Brandywell Health Forum.
Drink Think
Challenging the drinking culture in Derry and Strabane is the focus of a project being funded by us.
The Drink Think Support Programme aims to provide early and brief intervention to first and low-risk offenders where an offence has been committed and alcohol has been a factor.
The project aims to achieve a more responsible attitude towards drinking through the development of toolkits, training and high visibility campaigns for individuals, families, communities and the licensed trade to assist them in making sensible and healthy choices in relation to alcohol.
The inter-agency programme, which has been running since 2011, was set up with the PSNI and Policing and Community Safety Partnerships (PCSPs) and delivered by the Bogside & Brandywell Health Forum.
The scheme has now been extended to our tenants who have been involved in anti-social behaviour after drinking alcohol. The tenants will be referred by us to attend a workshop or for more intensive support in the form of therapeutic intervention and counselling.
Susan Harkin, from Bogside & Brandywell Health Forum, said:
“Following referral from the Housing Executive, participants attend a two-hour alcohol awareness workshop focusing on the effects of alcohol on the body and responsible decision making regarding the use of alcohol while also addressing their current alcohol consumption and the impacts on themselves and others.
“The rationale is to engage with those, who have been involved in alcohol related anti-social behaviour or crime, in a meaningful and relevant manner to explore attitudes and behaviours towards alcohol and to limit the chances of re-offending. This has proved beneficial to date and has been well received by participants who can be initially reluctant to engage.
“This educational programme will also help reduce the number of alcohol related offending and anti-social behaviour in the Derry City and Strabane District Council and give participants a wider understanding of the impact of alcohol misuse on themselves, their families, neighbours and the wider community.”
Eddie Doherty, our Housing Services Manager for the area, said:  
“We are looking forward to being involved in this innovative partnership programme which provides an opportunity for the Housing Executive to offer a positive alternative to those experiencing alcohol related harm and hopefully make a positive impact on their future and, in turn, result in safer and more harmonious communities.
“Drink Think will deliver information sessions to all relevant Housing Executive employees to ensure they are fully aware of the referral process and the benefits of the programme for tenants and their local communities.”