Written Answers. - Drug Awareness Programmes.

Eric J. Byrne

Ceist:

35 Mr. E. Byrne asked the Minister for Health the plans, if any, he has for further co-operation between the Departments of Health and Education in further developing drug awareness programmes for young people in both school and out-of-school settings. [8802/96]

The Departments of Education and Health have co-operated in developing a programme on substance abuse education for second-level schools entitledOn My Own Two Feet. This programme, with associated in-career development training for teachers, is available to second-level schools generally, as well as to youth reach centres and community training workshops.

Both Departments have co-operated, as well, in support of youth organisations in developing education packages on substance abuse. It is intended that this co-operation will continue.

In accordance with the Government measures to combat drug misuse announced in July 1995, the Minister for Education has announced a programme on substance abuse prevention for primary schools. This programme includes awareness raising seminars for teachers, parents and school management, the development of in-career training for teachers and educational resource materials with a special focus on areas where substance abuse is known to be a major problem. The Department of Health participates in the steering committee for this programme and will cooperate with the Department of Education in the development of the various aspects of the programme. Work on these aspects has already begun.

My Department, in turn, is looking at specific education and health promotion programmes in the inner city area of Dublin and other high risks areas. The Department of Education is linking in with the consultative process on this issue which will involve health boards and other relevant bodies. I am also finalising the details of a national drug awareness campaign which will be launched shortly. The Deputy will be aware that my Department has been involved in the development of a number of drug awareness initiatives in recent years and, through the Health Promotion Unit, made available a wide range of educational literature and training programmes for parents, teachers, professionals and young people. We have co-operated closely with the Department of Education in developing specific drug awareness initiatives for young people in recent years. Both Departments have, for example, facilitated a summer in-service training programme for teachers on drugs and AIDS for the last three years and a further course is planned for this summer.