Drugs misuse service open to March

Councillor Timothy Gaston.
Councillor Timothy Gaston.

TUV Bannside Councillor Timothy Gaston has welcomed news that a local drugs misuse service threatened with closure this month has been extended until the end of March.

A letter to Ballymena Council from Justice Minister David Ford has revealed that “additional, extraordinary funding” has been secured through the Assets Recovery Community Scheme to extend the Railway Street drugs misuse service through to March 31.

Describing the service as “potentially lifesaving”, Cllr Gaston said: “Railway Street is a vital part of the Northern Trust addiction service and has proved invaluable to people who have tragically been caught up in the abuse of heroin and other drugs.

“I therefore welcome the Department of Justice’s reply to the council’s letter which acknowledges the value of Railway Street Drugs Centre..which will see the Centre remain open until the end of March.

“However, I am disappointed that the long term future of Railway Street remains in question.

“Short term funding while welcome is not the answer and we need an assurance that the vital service will be preserved and the money which is so badly needed found,” he said.