Our three key policy asks ahead of the Westminster Elections
Open a pilot Medically Supervised Injecting Facility
The number of people dying from drug-related deaths continues to rise. Unprecedented levels of drug-related deaths in 2017 saw 136 people die from drugs in Northern Ireland, with the number of men dying from drug-related causes increasing by 98% between 2007 and 2017. That’s 136 mums, dads, daughters, sons, sisters, and brothers bereaved as a result of deaths which are avoidable.
Extern believes there is an urgent need for a Medically Supervised Injecting Facility (MSIF) in Northern Ireland. A MSIF will reduce the number of people dying from drugs, as it provides a sterile and medically supervised space for people to inject safely. Globally, no one has ever died in a MSIF, yet in the last year alone over 58 people could have died on the streets of Belfast, if Extern's harm reduction teams hadn't been there to administer naloxone.
Crucially, as well as halting preventable overdose deaths, MSIFs also remove drug usage and injecting paraphernalia from public spaces. They also engage with people to support them in reducing the harms caused by drugs and to access accommodation and healthcare services. As such they become a conduit to better health and treatment for drug dependency.
Pledge support for Extern’s call to open a pilot Medically Supervised Injecting Facility.
Saving Lives - more support for suicide prevention
Suicide is a preventable death, yet approximately 250,000 people in Northern Ireland have been directly affected by suicide over the past 15 years. The Public Health Agency have made recent commitments to reduce the number of deaths by 10 per cent by 2024. Extern services are working to make that a reality on the frontline.
Extern’s services provide mental health and wellbeing supports to thousands of young people and families every year, including our crisis services which provide direct support to people feeling actively suicidal.
Pledge support for Extern’s call for funding to appropriate community-based responses to people in crisis.
Increased supports for people experiencing homelessness
Last year 18,180 households presented as homeless across Northern Ireland, the majority of whom were single men and families. Each year Extern provides over 20,000 bed nights for people who are homeless while also growing our stock of houses.
Extern’s homelessness services support the most vulnerable, in particular, people with mental health needs and problematic alcohol and drug use (including those with dual diagnosis needs). Our specialised services reach in to support people to maintain tenancies, access specialised health and social care support, and work to reduce harm caused by substance use. They meet people at their point of need.
With growing pressure on Supporting People funding, and increasing complexity of health and social care needs in the homelessness sector, please support our work.
Pledge support for Extern Homes. This project provides life-changing supported tenancies to help people move on from homelessness.
Pledge support too as we call for:
Eoin Carroll - Policy and Public Affairs Manager
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