Breakthru was founded in 1996 and has established itself as a leading organization in the field of substance misuse in Northern Ireland.

We take an innovative approach to the many issues linked to substance misuse and the promotion of general health and wellbeing. Underpinning all the work of Breakthru is the belief that everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity and that everyone deserves to be armed with accurate, up to date information so they are able to make informed decisions about lifestyle choices.

The Future

Future development is both challenging and exciting with legislation around tendering and the current economic climate affecting available funding streams. In November we embarked upon a series of Think Tank Sessions with Partner organisations, Stakeholders, service users and young people. While there were many great ideas and suggestions the following have been adopted immediately with further developments planned.


IMPACT: Substance Misuse in the Family Conference


(Conference held by Breakthru, 18th May)


Agreeing actions to tackle the significant harm many children and young people experience due to parental drug and alcohol misuse was the focus of the ‘Impact: Substance Misuse in the Family’ conference held on 18th May by Breakthru.


The conference brought together health and social care practitioners, support organisations and key stakeholders, including Koulla Yiasouma the NI Commissioner for Children and Young People, to consider how to protect children and young people from Hidden Harm.


Hidden harm describes the situation of many children and young people affected by parental alcohol and drug misuse. Many suffer in silence and don't know where to turn for help.  Others do not realise they are living with it.  There may be a deep and long-lasting impact on children and young people which may not fully emerge until young adulthood and beyond.


The conference also heard about the impact Breakthru’s Drug Intervention and Community Education (DICE) project, funded by Big Lottery Fund, is having in supporting young people aged 8-21, who are care experienced and have been affected by parental alcohol or drug misuse. Bernadette McHugh, Breakthru Service Manager, highlighted how the DICE project has been critical for so many young people:

‘DICE has provided focused support to help these young people address Hidden Harm during particularly challenging periods of their life.  Indeed, for every £1 invested in the DICE project £6 of social value has been created.


Delegates acknowledged that Hidden Harm remains a significant issue across Northern Ireland. There was agreement that to successfully tackle Hidden Harm there must be a greater focus on awareness, training, education and a joined-up approach in the provision of support services. Projects such as DICE provide a clear insight into what can be done to effectively tackle Hidden Harm and it is essential the positive contribution these projects provide are recognised and shared.





IMPACT ' Substance Misuse in the Family' Conference
MAY 18, 2017
9AM - 3PM

Glenavon House Hotel , 52 Drum Road, Cookstown , BT80 8JQ

The IMPACT 'Substance Misuse in the Family' conference brings together experts from across Northern Ireland and beyond working in the field of 'Hidden Harm and FASD' to share best practice and build support for future action.

Speakers include the NI Commissioner for Children and Young People, Joy Barlow MBE, previously Head of STRADA and Cynthia Silva, Developmental Psychologist. The conference will also share findings of a 'Social Return on Investment' study into the DICE (Drug Intervention and Community Education) project delivered by Breakthru.  

Places are limited to 100 so please be advised to book your place as soon as possible.  To book click on the link below.

A number of Exhibition Stands are available at the conference. If you would like to book a stand to share information on your organisation or work contact Breakthru on 028 8775 3228. Stands will be allocated on a first come basis.