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Dáil Éireann debate -
Thursday, 19 May 1994

Vol. 442 No. 10

Ceisteanna — Questions. Written Answers. - Information on Drugs and Alcohol Abuse.

Frances Fitzgerald


51 Ms F. Fitzgerald asked the Minister for Health if he has satisfied himself at the level of information which has been distributed in schools in relation to problems of drug and alcohol abuse.

I am anxious that every effort be made to inform and educate young people regarding the dangers of drugs and alcohol abuse. Materials on drugs and alcohol are available to all schools through our health promotion unit's public office. I am satisfied that the range of materials on the issue is comprehensive.

However, educating young people about the dangers associated with drug and alcohol abuse is not just about the giving of information but also about giving young people the opportunity to develop and practise the skills necessary to resist pressures to use various substances of abuse.

This is what has motivated the development of our drink awareness for youth programme which is used extensively in schools at the moment. Another of our resources, solvent abuse resource materials, is also available to schools.

In addressing the issue of substance abuse generally it is also important that a multi-sectoral approach is adopted. A substance abuse prevention programme, developed jointly by the health promotion unit and the Department of Education, in conjunction with Mater Dei Counselling Centre, will be launched in second level schools next September. A programme for parents, "Alcohol, Drugs & Family Communication" being piloted in the Southern Health Board in conjunction with the health promotion unit assists parents to deal with problems which emerge in adolescence in relation to alcohol and drug use.

From 15-22 October, Ireland will take part in European Drug Prevention Week. The focus of this week is prevention of drug abuse, including alcohol abuse among young people. The health promotion unit co-ordinates preparations for the week and it is hoped that a greater awareness of all the issues relating to drug abuse will be created among young people. This will be reinforced by messages on national and local media.
I wish to assure the Deputy that I consider drug and alcohol abuse prevention among young people as a priority area for attention. The forthcoming substance abuse prevention programme will be a useful addition to school-based resources and my Department will continue to address the problem by a range of initiatives allowing the non-formal education sector, parents and the wider community to support school-based activities.