New centre opens to help Sunderland families battling drug addiction

The Mayor and Mayoress of Sunderland Coun. Stuart Porthouse and his wife Marie with Sue Leigh (right) of Sunderland Aera Parents Support at the official opening of their new premesis at Doxford Park.
The Mayor and Mayoress of Sunderland Coun. Stuart Porthouse and his wife Marie with Sue Leigh (right) of Sunderland Aera Parents Support at the official opening of their new premesis at Doxford Park.
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A SUPPORT centre for families of those battling drug addiction has opened on Wearside.

Sunderland Area Parents Support (Saps) is based in Doxford Park’s Meadow Nursery Lodge building.

The charity will also use the park’s White House for sessions.

Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Stuart Porthouse, and the Mayoress, his wife Marie, were on hand to officially cut the ribbon on the new centre.

Sharon Smiles, from the organisation, said: “We’re here to work with parents, siblings, family or anybody else who is concerned about someone they know getting involved in substance misuse.

“When you say the word ‘carer’, people think it’s a person helping someone out of the bath or getting them dressed, but people who look after those with drug habits are carers too, and they need support.

“The carers are often also the victim of domestic violence and we’ve found that that’s a real problem.”

Saps offers respite care, counselling sessions, advocacy and self-esteem building classes, among other services. “We work with the Carers’ Service and provide counselling for Sunderland carers, as well as those who have been affected by drug-related deaths in their families,” added Ms Smiles.

“Nobody wakes up one day and thinks ‘I want to be a heroin addict’, we understand that.

“Drug taking is a choice, but it becomes an addiction very easily.”

For more information on Saps, log on to sapscarers.org or call 520 3444.