Addressing alcohol and drug-related issues: Reducing harm and supporting positive change.


Addressing alcohol and drug-related issues: Reducing harm and supporting positive change.

As Omagh gears up for its annual Pride event, ASCERT, dedicated to reducing drug and alcohol-related harm, are amplifying their call for support within the LGBTQ+ community. With statistics revealing the disproportionate impact of substance use on LGBTQ+ individuals, ASCERT stands with the LGBTQ+ community by offering non-judgmental support and guidance. 

Why Omagh Pride?  

Omagh Pride isn’t just a celebration of diversity; it’s a platform for vital conversations. ASCERT recognises this and is actively participating in this year’s Pride festivities on June 22nd 2024. Our presence is a commitment to fostering a supportive environment where attendees can seek assistance and advice regarding substance use and mental health. 

Understanding the Statistics  

The statistics surrounding substance use within the LGBTQ+ community paint a concerning picture. Studies, including research from the Institute of Alcohol Studies, indicate that LGBTQ+ individuals face nearly double the risk of alcohol dependence compared to the general population. Moreover, they are more likely to experience co-existing mental health conditions exacerbated by alcohol use. 

ASCERT’s Mission  

For the last twenty-five years, ASCERT has been at the forefront of combating the negative impacts of substance use, offering intervention, prevention, and training services across Northern Ireland. Our mission is to reduce drug and alcohol related harm while supporting positive change in our local communities. Our approach is rooted in accountability, progressiveness, integrity, and hope – values that resonate deeply with the LGBTQ+ community. 

Two women stand smiling in the rain. They are wearing white t-shirts with ASCERT's logo in Pride colours.

Louise Gough and Lorna Fennell from ASCERT Supporting Pride

Breaking Down Barriers  

Gary McMichael, ASCERT’s Chief Executive, emphasises ASCERT’s commitment to inclusivity. “ASCERT’s non judgemental ethos means that individuals from all walks of life can feel confident and comfortable when seeking assistance.” 

ASCERT’s Chief Executive Gary McMichael said, “We are delighted to attend Omagh Pride again this year. It is a great opportunity to connect with and support the LGBTQ+ community. Our staff have completed LGBTQIA+ Awareness Training with Cara Friend and we strive to provide a non-judgmental, person-centred service regardless of your ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.” 

Gary Continued, “We would like the West Tyrone community to know that we are here to support them. If you are feeling isolated and are using alcohol or drugs to cope, or if you are worried about alcohol or drug use in your area, please get in touch.  ASCERT provide prevention, intervention, and training services that tackle drug and alcohol-related issues.” 

Challenging Stigma  

One of the primary objectives of ASCERT’s presence at Omagh Pride is to challenge the stigma surrounding substance use within the LGBTQ+ community. By fostering open dialogue and providing accessible resources, ASCERT aim to dismantle barriers preventing individuals from seeking support. 

A Call to Action  

ASCERT’s message to the West Tyrone community is clear: you’re not alone. Whether you’re struggling with substance use, feeling isolated, or concerned about a loved one, ASCERT is here to help. Their range of services, spanning prevention, intervention, and training, is designed to address the unique needs of individuals and communities alike. 

Beyond Omagh Pride  

While Omagh Pride serves as a pivotal moment for engagement, ASCERT’s commitment to the LGBTQ+ community transcends a single event. Through ongoing outreach, education, and advocacy efforts, ASCERT strives to create a lasting impact, fostering resilience and empowerment within the LGBTQ+ community. 

Looking Ahead  

As we reflect on the intersection of LGBTQ+ identity and substance use, it’s imperative to acknowledge the complexities and challenges faced by individuals within this community. By amplifying voices, challenging norms, and providing unwavering support, organisations like ASCERT pave the way for a brighter, more inclusive future. 


As Omagh prepares to celebrate Pride, let us not forget the importance of solidarity and support. Through initiatives like ASCERT’s presence at Omagh Pride, we can create a community where individuals feel seen, heard, and supported – regardless of their identity or circumstances. 

For more information about ASCERT’s services, visit ASCERT’s website. 


  1. What is ASCERT’s mission? Reducing drug and alcohol-related harm; promoting positive change in communities. 
  1. Why is ASCERT participating in Omagh Pride? ASCERT recognises the significance of Pride events as platforms for vital conversations and support for the LGBTQ+ community. 
  1. How does ASCERT challenge the stigma surrounding substance use? Through open dialogue, accessible resources, and non-judgmental support, ASCERT aims to dismantle barriers preventing individuals from seeking help. 
  1. What services does ASCERT offer? ASCERT provides intervention, prevention, and training services tailored to address the unique needs of individuals and communities affected by substance use.