Substance Misuse Among People Over 55 - Perspectives from the Community and Voluntary sector in Belfast
The Belfast Health Development Unit (BHDU) was established as a Ministerial priority in March 2010, co-locating staff from The Public Health Agency (PHA), Belfast Health and Social Care Trust (BHSCT) and Belfast City Council (BCC). One of the strategic priorities for the BHDU is: an integrated approach to planning and delivery of services for older people in the city.
The PHA and the BHDU had identified a need to examine the extent of substance misuse issues within the older population of the city of Belfast and to explore early intervention programmes targeting this population. It is envisioned that this piece of work will inform and support the Belfast Healthy Ageing Strategic Partnership on older people and its multi-sectoral action plan and will influence the work and priorities of the Belfast Strategic Partnership and its constituent stakeholders in taking drug and alcohol work forward in Belfast.
The aim of this research was to review knowledge, awareness and evidence of the impact of substance misuse on the older population (aged 55+) and to review good practice in reducing substance related harm within this population which has been done by undertaking a review of available research, data and information sources. However, the main focus of the research involved consulting with a broad range of community and voluntary sector organisations working in the Belfast area to assess their views and perceptions of the prevalence and extent of substance misuse within the older population and the services currently in place to address this issue.