A stark new video campaign has been launched to tackle drugs and alcohol misuse in the Mid and East Antrim area.
As part of the campaign launched by the local Policing and Community Safety Partnership, the project aims to also act as a signpost to the support services available across the borough.
The video features a young, care-free girl on a swing, playing on her phone. A voiceover then asks her a number of questions about her life, which ends in the revelation that she has been misusing prescription drugs.
The film ends with a signpost to a free helpline number promoting the many dedicated services available for support across Mid and East Antrim. It also encourage people to #StopTheTrend.
The video is aimed at both young people who may relate to the video and/or adults in their life who may want someone to talk to.
Councillor Brian Collins, Chair of MEA PCSP, said: “This video campaign highlights that drug misuse can affect all ages and genders.
“It also encourages people to talk about the issues that may be affecting them, or someone they know.
“This is such an important issue for the borough and the PCSP has worked hard with its dedicated Drug and Alcohol Steering Group to help provide services, promote them and now to raise awareness of the work they are doing.
The Mid and East Antrim PCSP Drugs and Alcohol Steering Group was started two years ago with just four organisations.
Today, the group has over 30 bodies working together to resolve some of the long-standing, difficult issues that the most vulnerable in our society face and they are making a real difference on the ground.
“This campaign is extremely important as we want to raise awareness of the dangers of drug and alcohol misuse at an early age to stop it developing into a serious health issue later in life,” Cllr. Collins said.
He added: “I would like to thank all the members of the Steering Group and our Statutory Partners for their support in launching this initiative, but also their feedback and input that made it all possible.”
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Paul Reid added: “The misuse of drugs, including prescription medications, and alcohol are a blight on any society.
“Many of these issues are hidden, but we are determined to raise awareness of the dangers and the support that is out there for our citizens. “It’s not just addiction or the physical health impacts that we can all see in someone affected by substance misuse, but the severe mental health impact for them and their families.
“This council and the PCSP are not shying away from these difficult issues. Together, we are starting the conversation and want to get people talking about it so together, we can start addressing it.”
Cllr. Reid said that he has also chosen to support the work being done by the Mid and East Antrim PCSP Drugs and Alcohol Steering Group through his official charitable cause.
“They are directly supporting our citizens and together we will get people the right help for whatever issue they may face, be that addiction, depression, or supporting mental health,” Cllr. Reid added.
Chief Executive of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, Anne Donaghy said: “All of us in Mid and East Antrim Borough Council know that working together is the only way to deliver for all our citizens and communities.
“This campaign is a perfect example of this. Working with our PCSP, statutory partners and agencies to raise awareness of what support and help is out there for those who need it.
“This campaign reinforces council’s commitment and support to the PCSP and our partner organisations and look forward to continue working with you all for many years to come.”
The #StopTheTrend campaign will run on Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s online and social media platforms.
If you or anyone you know may need help then you can contact this Freephone helpline number for impartial advice on 028 2568 9306.
For more information you can visit www.midandeastantrim.gov.uk/stopthetrend