RESIDENTS in Minehead have expressed their concerns over the opening of a new alcohol and drugs hub in the town this week.

The Somerset Drugs and Alcohol Service and the Turning Point charity are set to unveil the new centre next Tuesday, September 2, which has been extended to help eliminate travel issues for vulnerable drug and alcohol users seeking help in West Somerset.

However, residents spoke about the issue on social network site Facebook after the County Gazette reported developments in the runup to the opening of the facility.

Trish Visser said the town was “struggling enough” without the added introduction of the hub.

She said: “This is going to make Minehead go ‘downhill’.

“Nobody tells anybody to do drugs – there’s enough being said and advertised to advise you against it, so it’s your choice.”

But Dante Tidus Robertson believes Minehead’s problems with anti-social behaviour aren’t caused by drugs and alcohol alone.

He said: “Drugs and alcohol are not the only reasons for anti-social behaviour – some of it is just down to people not caring.

One Facebook user was keen to stress the importance of the service being extended, saying: “Let us understand that Turning Point has been operating from Irnham Lodge for a number of years, and what’s being planned here is an addition to that service which will enable a wider range of support without forcing already vulnerable people to travel to Taunton.

“The Somerset Drugs and Alcohol Service team and Turning Point deserve every support in helping to provide this much needed local support.

“Whether you accept it or simply fail to understand it, alcoholism is a disease, the victims of which are in desperate need of help and support.”

A spokesman for Irnham Lodge Surgery said: “Substance misuse can affect people from all walks of life and doesn’t discriminate on the basis of background.

“The impact on families can be devastating, and there are implications for the wider community in terms of crime and anti-social behaviour.

“Our surgery has been providing services to help drug and alcohol addicts for over 20 years.

“Our practice is pleased to support the extension of Turning Point’s services in Minehead.”