Tacklin Hidden Harm In Northern Ireland

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Health Minister, Michael McGimpsey today launched a new Regional Action Plan that seeks to provide help and support to children with substance misusing parents or carers.

Launching the document, the Minister said: "When we discuss alcohol or drug misuse, the focus is often on the individual directly affected. However, substance misuse also has an impact on those connected to the misuser – it has an impact on their family, on their friends, on their community, and on our society as a whole.

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"The biggest indirect impact is often felt by the children and young people who are born to, or living with, substance misusing parents or carers. This impact of substance misuse on children is often referred to as 'Hidden Harm'."

The Action Plan estimates that there could be as many as 40,000 children in Northern Ireland living in a family where there is a substance misuse problem.

Recognising this as a major issue, the Minister said: "This Regional Hidden Harm Action Plan will help improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable children and young people in Northern Ireland.

"It will not be easy to address, and improvement will not come overnight. Nevertheless, if we can ensure that children's services are working in partnership with addiction services to deliver the actions contained in this document, then we can, and will, make a difference."

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