25th March 2021

Extern is highlighting the importance of nutrition for people who use alcohol and other drugs with the launch of a new guide today.

The 32-page booklet, entitled Nutrition for Substance Use, is aimed at anyone who uses substances such as drugs or alcohol and who wishes to improve their nutritional intake.

The publication, which is available to download here, and at www.extern.org, as well as being distributed in print, is also suitable for professionals working in a range of health and social care settings who wish to offer such support to service users.

It offers advice on areas such as choosing a balanced diet, reducing salt intake and setting goals for improving your personal nutrition. This is encouraged through a range of approaches, such as psycho-education, harm reduction and motivational enhancement to support change in eating behaviours.

The booklet has been created by Extern’s Drugs and Alcohol Consultancy Service (DACS), working with Belfast Health and Social Care Trust’s Nutrition and Dietetics Service and representatives of the Regional Service User Network (RSUN) (a project by Council for the Homeless NI (CHNI)). It has been funded by the Public Health Agency NI.

Chris Rintoul, manager of DACS, said: “As the guide says, regular and heavy substance use can lead to the body not getting enough food, or the right balance of food, to help keep our bodies and minds well. Substance use, combined with poor eating habits, can lead to a range of health problems, or make them worse.

“This workbook aims to help people who use alcohol or drugs to think about the importance of eating well and find ways to achieve a more balanced diet. It is for people who are ready to think about changing how they eat to help improve their health or wellbeing.”

Printed copies of the workbook are available throughout Northern Ireland. To request copies please contact [email protected] stating your name, your full address and how many you would like.

You can also download and print an A4 version here.