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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 February 2006, 10:02 GMT
Cash-strapped rehab unit closes
drug syringe
The Lazarus Centre in Sunderland is to close down
A cash-strapped rehabilitation unit for alcoholics and drug abusers in Sunderland is to close because it is too expensive to run.

The Lazarus Centre, at Doxford House in Silksworth, has provided residential treatment for 500 addicts since it opened five years ago.

But financial problems at the charity-run centre are forcing it to shut, to be replaced by a day centre.

Despite the closure, trustees at the unit said addicts would still get help.

A 43-year-old former addict, who now works at the centre, said that day care help may not be enough for hardened abusers.

He said: "It is a tough treatment for people who just cannot control their drinking and drug taking. We won't be there to help those people who are the most severe cases.

Transferred clients

"What we do is make people safe, those who are in very great danger of drugging or drinking themselves to death.

"With day care there will not be that safety net - we are like the intensive care of the addiction field."

But Rupert Hanson, a trustee at the centre, assured addicts that they would not be "abandoned."

He said: "Doxford House is a grade two listed building and the cost of running it has gone astronomically out the window.

"We are selling the building and having some breathing time to re-establish ourselves and find a far better place for people to come too.

"We have transferred our current clients into proper care and we haven't said 'off you go' to anyone."

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