Help with Substance Misuse
Alcohol is a legal sedative drug used to make wine, beer, spirits and liqueurs. Alcohol consumption affects people in different ways eg drinking can change behaviour, can cause dependency/addiction and can harm your health and damages relationships and society through violence, crime, drink-driving and accidents. You can find out more about alcohol-related harms on the NI Direct website at: How alcohol affects your health.
Alcoholic drinks have different strengths. Alcohol units tell you how strong a drink is. The number of units in one drink is based on the quantity of drink and the alcohol strength. In Northern Ireland, one unit is 10ml or eight grammes of pure alcohol. If you drink alcohol, you can check the medical guidelines about limiting the units you drink each week by visiting Alcohol limits and unit guidelines and Alcohol & You
Drug misuse is usually associated with the consumption of illicit substances such as heroin, cocaine, ecstasy and cannabis. However there are many harms associated with taking any substance that has not been prescribed for you including misusing prescription and over-the-counter medicines. You can find out more about drug-related harms at: Risks of Taking Drugs.
When you take alcohol with another drug, there is interaction in your body where one drug alters the other drug’s effects. Mixing alcohol with other drugs can be unpredictable and dangerous. If you take alcohol with other drugs, the effects could be nausea, illness or death. For further information, please visit: Mixing alcohol with other drugs
If you are concerned about your own or someone else's substance misuse, speak to your GP, who can help you get advice and even refer you to a dedicated service or specialist agency that provide help with drug or alcohol problems. Some treatment and support services accept self-referrals from people misusing alcohol and/or other substances. Support is also available for families affected by a family member’s substance misuse, irrespective of whether the family member is receiving treatment or not. There is a full range of services available across Northern Ireland that provide advice, support and treatment. For more information, please visit: NI DACTS Treatment and Support Services
There are five Drug and Alcohol Coordination Teams (DACTs) across Northern Ireland, based in each Health and Social Care Trust area (Belfast, Northern, South Eastern, Southern and Western). The DACTs are multi-agency partnerships comprising all of the key agencies (statutory and community & voluntary) with an interest in, or remit for, addressing drug and alcohol related issues and concerns in the local area. The work of the DACTs is supported by the Public Health Agency whose local lead for drugs and alcohol helps to facilitate the work of the Team. The aim of each DACT is to promote and support a more coordinated approach to addressing alcohol and drug-related issues across each Trust area.
Low threshold services are for anyone who drinks alcohol or takes drugs, and because of this finds themselves getting into difficulties, either with their drug or alcohol use, or with other areas of their life. ‘Low threshold’ just means that anyone can get help, even if they don’t want to drink less or stop taking drugs. Low threshold service staff can work with you no matter how much you drink, or what drugs you take.
Gambling is seen by many people as entertainment, and can be a lot of fun for those who can stay within limits of money and time spent. This is usually a harmless pastime, but gambling can be a problem if it becomes a habit and can lead to serious money worries and mental health problems.
If you find yourself gambling more than you can afford to lose, are lying to people about how much you spent or how often you gambled, or find that you are increasing how much or how often you gamble, you almost certainly have a gambling problem.
Don’t wait until it has ruined your life. Seek help sooner rather than later if you still want to have friends and family who will be there for you. If you gamble to avoid/escape from problems, remember the problems are likely to be worse when you’ve spent all your money. You will not gamble yourself out of debt – only further into it.
If you think you might have a gambling problem:
• set yourself limits of time and money and stick to them
• keep a record of everything you gamble, including all wins and losses that result;
• don’t lie about it to your friends and family.
If you can’t keep to the boundaries you set for yourself you DO have a problem, but you can speak to a trained counsellor who can assess you fully, help you change things, and signpost you to other helpful services.
Gamblers Anonymous & Gam-Anon provide help and support for compulsive gamblers.
Gam-Anon is for partners, relatives and close friends of compulsive gamblers. 028 9024 9185
Dunlewey Addiction Services offer a free and confidential counselling and mentoring programme for those experiencing difficulties with their own, or other people’s gambling issues or substance misuse. Telephone 028 9127 1322