Drug Prevention and Education Interventions

The Prevention and education work of Finglas Cabra Local Drug & Alcohol Task Force is guided by the World Health Organisation endorse principles of the new public health movement (WHO,1986). The five principles are:

Developing individual personal and social skills

Re-orientating health services toward improving access, availability, and use

Facilitating and strengthening community participation and collective action

Creating local environments that are conducive to individual and community health

Creating public policies supportive of health

Taken together the Task Force seeks to reduce drug related harm through inter-sectoral and multi-level activity encouraging individual, community, and environmental change.

The drug prevention and interventions of the Task Force are informed by research evidence from social environmental interventions such as the Seattle Social Development Project (SSDP). SSDP found that “the children exposed to the intervention demonstrated improved outcomes in early adulthood in a number of areas, including rates of substance misuse and delinquency.” (P.60, Preventing Harmful Substance Use, 2005)

Informed by the research evidence from social environment interventions the Task Force works with local schools and youth services to provide positive educational experiences, reduce negative peer influences, to reduce drug use and delinquency.

A key aspect of the Task Force prevention approach utilizes fact-based drug education. The Drug Education Workers Forum (DEWF) described drug education as an intervention aimed at enhancing the knowledge, skills, and competencies people use in their decisions about drug use. The aim is to give and receive age-appropriate information plus knowledge to help people make informed choices to reduce the harms and risks factors of substances use/misuse within their social context.

The Task Force employs a Health Promotion Worker to support the delivery of its prevention interventions to young people in school and out of school settings, parents, and to the various local community, voluntary, and statutory organisations.

Prevention initiatives delivered include:

This is done mainly using information presentations or workshops on drugs to community groups, sprots clubs, schools and other relevant services.

Drug awareness materials and campaigns: On response to local circumstances the Task Force produces information leaflets, films, booklets, posters on drugs and their use in collaboration with stakeholders.

Is a classroom-based program aimed at reducing alcohol-related harm and risky consumption by young people. The Programme is evidence-based and is designed to be implemented at a time when local prevalence data indicates that young people are starting to experiment with alcohol. The SHAHRP lessons are provided in two phases. Phase One has eight programme sessions given to 1st year students and Phase Two is four booster sessions given in the following year when the students reach 2nd year. Teacher support and training is given, and student workbooks and teacher manuals are provided by Task Force.

This is a summer programme organised in collaboration with Finglas Youth Resource Centre (FYRC). This programme is targeted at young people aged 13-16 who are already engaged or at high risk to becoming involved in drug use. These young people are targeted through already established groups, outreach, and referrals from the local youth services.

In this programme student explore the risk and protective factors associated drug and alcohol use. The content of this programme is age appropriate and approaches drug and alcohol issues using interactive methodologies such as discussions, group-work, and games, to build self-esteem and confidence. It also concentrates on developing life skills such as communication, listening and decision making that are needed to help young people to protect themselves from potentially harmful situations in their futures. The programme content includes information on problems caused by drug and alcohol use, decision making skills, building self-efficacy and resilience.

P2P is a peer education programme school led drug education schools programme designed to dispel the myths surrounding drug and alcohol use/misuse by providing young people with a platform to speak up about drug use. It was designed by schools in the Finglas area in collaboration with the Task Force. It has been successfully delivered in schools in the Finglas and Cabra area for over 15 years.

P2P uses a two stage process, with the learner taking on the role of the teacher. The first stage of this drug education programme is where the local secondary schools are invited to send 2-4 transition year students to take part in a six-week drug education educator programme on a Wednesday afternoon. This training is co-facilitated by the TF Health Promotion Worker and the SPHE Teacher from a local second level school.

Each weekly P2P drug educator training session looks at different aspects of the effects and consequences of drug on the body and society. In addition, the participants learn the skills confidence and competence needed teach younger students about drug use while developing the tools to become peer drug educators and advocates in delivering an education programme to 1st year’s classes in their respective schools.

From the training a Drug Awareness workshop is designed by TY students exploring substances and issues that they feel are most relevant to their Peer group.

Small Grant Schemes

Community Response small grant scheme/fund: The purpose of this fund is to support local voluntary community groups to organise small community prevention activity. After complying with strict criteria an application form is completed and assessed by the TF Health Promotion Worker. Under the strict criteria funding is only available to recognised voluntary community groups/organisations located within the Task Force area. Applications are not accepted from individuals. Applications must also clearly demonstrate how the funding applied for will contribute to addressing the drug issue locally.

After Schools Grant/Drug Prevention Activity Fund: This fund provides small grants for new prevention activity and additions to existing activity in local schools and youth services. Activity funded must contribute to building psycho-social resilience in children and young people living in the Finglas and Cabra areas. It is particularly interested in applications aimed at children and young people growing up in homes affected by problem drug and alcohol use. The grant can be used to pay individuals to deliver therapeutic interventions etc. There are two calls for applications from eligible bodies each year Sept-Dec and Jan-June.