Excessive drinking or drug-taking during the Coronavirus crisis will only “exacerbate the issues” people are already going through and will lead to “health problems for the future”, a leading drugs and alcohol awareness counsellor has warned.

As we approach week six of the Covid-19 lockdown the Falls Community Council’s Fra Stone has said that during these “extraordinary times that we are finding ourselves living through” that some people may find themselves making “bad decisions in relation to drugs and alcohol”.

“Sometimes we may think it’s easier to cope with the stress, that is going hand-in-hand with this situation by drinking more or by taking drugs – either starting them or increasing the amount that people may be already taking,” he said.

“These options will actually only exacerbate the issues or stress that people may be going through and building up health problems for the future.”

Fra added that Falls Community Council are aware of individuals “who are taking advantage of these difficult times”.

“We are aware of ‘dial-a-drink’ bringing alcohol to people’s homes and drug deliveries. We are aware that this is being widely advertised on social media.

“We urge parents and family members to keep an eye on this. We also call on the PSNI to act on this and act quickly for the people operating this are harming our families and communities. We need these illegal and unregulated operations to stop.”

Fra said that while Falls Community Council’s Community Drug Programme has had to cease face-to-face meetings with people who are struggling, that they can still be contacted either by phone or by email to discuss any issues a person may be facing and hopefully give options to help alleviate these issues.

“We urge people to stay safe, protect yourselves and your loved ones at this time,” he added.

To contact Fra telephone 02890 202030 or email fra@fallscouncil.com