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Alcholic in plea to PM

Thursday, 4th April 2002.

Letter to Tony Blair.. Tom Walls desribes Haverhill as "the pauper of Suffolk"

An alcoholic from Haverhill has written ti the Prime minister calling for more resources to be provided for people like him.

Tom Walls, 55, of Cambridge Close, describes the town as “the pauper of Suffolk” with little help available to those with alcohol or drug related problems.

Mr Walls wrote: “There is no drop in centre and resources are poor. I do not consider that funding is spread equally throughout the county of Suffolk, given the size of the town, and would wish someone to look closely at the way funding is allocated.”

A Scot, who moved from Glasgow to Haverhill 20 years ago, Mr Walls says he has made repeated unsuccessful attempts to overcome his drink problem. He admits to drinking up to a bottle of whisky a day, when he can afford it. He is also crippled by arthritis, which he knows is made worse by the alcohol.

Previously Mr Walls says he had a good job as a welder and had travelled around the world. He says he was well into a recovery programme for his alcoholism when the sudden death of his wife of 27 years, Wilma, pushed him over the edge.

“It devastated me, I just collapsed into alcohol. I have tried to sort myself out, but there is no drop-in centre, no counsellors. Everything goes to Ipswich and Bury, Haverhill has nothing. There are a lot of people like me and there is no help available, it is disgusting.”

A Local Health Partnerships NHS Trust spokesman said there were two drop-in services available each month in Haverhill. Anyone with drug or alcohol problems could simply call into the Leiston Social Centre between 2 – 4 pm and 4 – 6 pm on the first and third Wednesday of each month.

There were also two full time drug workers serving Haverhill, who people could access through the drop in sessions or by referral from GPs or the Community Mental Health team.

For people with alcohol problems both one-to-one counselling and detox facilities were available and could be accessed through GPs. There was also a pharmacy-based needle exchange service.

The spokesman said: “Haverhill is not badly served for drug and alcohol services. When it is compared to some other places, others have worse provision.”

Haverhill Weekly News

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