FOUR new projects are being launched in Belfast to offer help and support to people suffering with alcohol problems.
The schemes will be organised by the community-based agencies Opportunity Youth, ASCERT, FASA and Addiction NI.
They will receive a total of £1.5m from the Big Lottery Fund over the next four years.
Health Minister Edwin Poots said alcohol misuse cost his department “up to £900m every year”.
“Almost £250 million of these costs are borne by the Health and Social Care Sector,” he said.
“Alcohol misuse has a devastating impact on our society, first and foremost to the individuals directly affected, and their families and communities.
“But it also has a major impact on the health service, on social care, on the economy and on the criminal justice sector.
“Drug misuse often gets the headlines, but alcohol remains our drug of choice.”