October 6, 2008

Audience Hears of Battle With Drink

By Lauren Pyrah

A TALE of one man?s battle with alcohol helped launch an initiative to tackle excessive drinking in a town.

John McTrusty told an audience of community figures: ?I was nearly dead.

?I probably had two to three weeks of life left when two outstanding professional people, working together, saved my life and put me on the road to something better. ? Mr McTrusty spoke at the launch of the Safer Drinking ?Safer Darlington strategy.

He said: ?I owe these people everything. Their care and attention was way beyond what you would expect. But we need this sort of quality care. ? He also told the audience of health and local authority professionals, police, voluntary and community workers and businessmen: ?We need effective support services that are seamlessly joined up with treatment.

?We also need a culture of involvement. I know alcohol intimately andmy perspective is just as much a part of the equation as the experts?. ? The three-year Darlington Partnership initiative sets out targets for health, council and emergency services, funded by almost [pounds]750,000.

Fifteen local people die each year from alcohol-related conditions, while an estimated quarter of Darlington adults binge- drink.

Assistant Chief Constable Gary Barnett told delegates: ?If alcohol was a new drug, I do not think we would sanction its use. ? The chairman of Darlington Drug and Alcohol Action Team, Bill Dixon, said: ?Tackling heroin addiction has been the easier part of our work. At least people recognise that it will do you harm. ?

(c) 2008 Northern Echo. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.