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Welcome to the Southern Regional Drugs Task Force
"Working in partnership to reduce the harmful effects caused to society by Drug or alcohol misuse"
The Task Force operates using Partnership Principles and has membership from the statutory, voluntary and community sectors alongside public representatives. The SRDTF employs a coordinator (Chris Black) and a Development Worker (Gordon Kinsley) who are employed to oversee the implementation of a Regional Strategy. The Coordinator is employed by the HSE but reports to the Chairperson of the Task Force (Tom Daly) for day to day operations
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More On Mitchelstown
- Category: Mitchelstown Community Drugs Initiative
- Published on Wednesday, 01 April 2009 09:54
- Written by Chris Black
- Hits: 6125
The Avondhu Newspaper are running a series of articles on Drugs and Alcohol in North Cork.
The following is a copy of the articles written by reporter Brian Moore that appeared in the Avondhu Newspaper during March and April 2009. The first article refers to the Mitchelstown Community Drugs Initiaitve, the second Dial to Stop Drug Dealing.
Community Based Initiative Offers Alternative Options
In the first of a three part series on drug problems in the North Cork area, Avondhu reporter, Brian Moore this week takes a look at a locally based community initiative that appears to be achieving results.
Elaine Marrinan of the Mitchelstown Community Based Drugs Initiative told The Avondhu, “Unfortunately Alcohol abuse amongst young people between the ages of 12 and 23 is on the increase'
The Mitchelstown Community Based Drugs Initiative, which has been in operation for two years, helps young people to see an alternative to drug and alcohol use.
Many young people in the North Cork area are encountering problems with drugs and especially alcohol. The project was set up to try and tackle the increasing levels of substance misuse and to alleviate problems linked to drug and alcohol issues.
Elaine Marrinan of the Mitchelstown Community Based Drugs Initiative told The Avondhu, "Unfortunately alcohol abuse amongst young people between the ages of 12 and 23 is on the increase in our areas. The use of drugs and other substances are also on the increase and that is why the project was set up. I have found a very positive reaction to the initiative and I have a very supportive management group. Anyone can come to me or they can be referred by a concerned parent, basically it's all about support for the young person and indeed their families."
The project is aimed at helping young people who are at high risk of using or experimenting with drugs or alcohol. They will also support families and help them to cope with their children's substance abuse problems. Funding for the project comes from Southern Regional Drugs Task Force and is also supported by the Mitchelstown Lions Club.
"Predominantly we have found that young people in the area have problems with alcohol abuse, but we have also found that there is an increase in poly substance abuse, where alcohol and drugs are being used," Elaine said.
There are 10 community based drugs initiatives in the Cork and Kerry regions now, these were set up in 2006 and are operated by the Foroige National Youth Development Organisation.
In Mitchelstown the aims of the project is to provide access for young people and their parents to education and support using individually tailored programmes. These will assist in accessing the relevant services and counselling or treatment facilitates. The project also works to provide further education or training programmes, which will in turn provide a positive alternative to drugs and alcohol.
Elaine Marrinan said, "We want to engage positively in the community, there are studies relevant to the area ad young people in Mitchelstown have recognised drugs as an issue for themselves. A quarter of those asked said that drugs were an issue and a fifth saw alcohol and peer pressure as a major problem. There is no town in Ireland that is untouched by this problem but there seems to be an increase in the numbers of people looking for help."
Mitchelstown Community Drugs Based Initiative is free to all those who need help, it is confidential, non-judgmental and informal.
"It's not about preaching to people, it's about support and working along a path. Drugs are a huge worry for a community and for parents. Fear tends to immobilize people and there is a stigma attached to seeking help from projects and agencies but we are here to help," Elaine Marrinan concluded.
Further information can be acquired by contacting Elaine at 025-41511 or on mobile 086-0439702. The service is completely confidential and free.
Article 2 - published 2nd April 2009
‘EASY TO GET HASH IN TOWN ANY NIGHT’
– Mitchelstown teenager speaks out -
According to one Mitchelstown teenager it’s a lot easier than you might think. The teenager who wishes to remain anonymous told The Avondhu, “It’s easy to get hash in town any night and as for alcohol, we just get someone to buy it for us at the off-licence.”
The 15 year old said that at the weekends he and his friends would regularly drink until they were sick or they would pass out.
“It’s a good laugh and there isn’t much else to do,” he said.
But how widespread is the problem in North Cork? Chris Black of the South Region Task Force told The Avondhu, “It used to be just a city problem but now even small villages in rural Ireland are affected. We have seen an increase in the numbers of people, especially young people, coming to us over the past year. In the North Cork area the use of alcohol is a major problem but we have also seen a rise in hash users over recent years. There are teenagers as young as 14 with serious addiction problems.
"However, we have to make sure that people know that there are other alternatives out there, there are supports in place for anyone who is in trouble with alcohol and drugs.”
The supports are there so how do we stop young people from getting involved in drugs in the first place?
A spokesman for Alcoholics Anonymous said, “We have to begin by changing our culture. We have this idea that it’s ok to get blind drunk. Young people are exposed to drinking to excess every weekend, there is the idea that you haven’t had a good night unless you can’t remember it. There needs to be more education about alcohol and its effects. We have to show that you can drink and enjoy alcohol without needing to get drunk and this education needs to start at home.”
What would you do if you saw someone selling drugs in your town? The National Drugs Strategy Team along with funding from the Department of Community Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs have set up an anonymous service to report incidents of drug dealing in the community. The Cork Dial To Stop Drug Dealing is an anonymous and safe line to help stop drugs taking hold of a community.
One father who lives in Dublin said, “Drug Dealing is destroying our kids’ lives and it is bringing down the area and the community we live in. My kids have seen the dealing first hand. Now I can call someone. They don’t want my name and they’ll make sure they pass on my information to the gardai. Finally I can do something.” For more information you can contact Cork Dial To Stop Drug Dealing on 1800 220 220 or log on to www.dialtostop.ie
Article 3 - published 30th April 2009
RURAL IRELAND FACING A MAJOR CHALLENGE
In the concluding part in our series, Drugs Today, Brian Moore gets the views of Inspector Brian Goulding who feels that it’s vital that young people get educated on the affect that drug and alcohol abuse can have on their future Rural Ireland is facing a major challenge in the fight against drugs.
Speaking to The Avondhu, Detective Inspector Brian Goulding said that it is imperative that young people are educated about the effects that alcohol and drugs abuse will have on their futures.
“The Division of Cork North is no different to any other rural Garda Division in Ireland. As is the case in every other area there are issues in relation to drug abuse in major towns and villages. Drugs present a major challenge for society. There have been significant drug seizures throughout the division in the first quarter of 2009.”
“An Garda Siochana will continue to target the supply side and work to protect young people and society from this unacceptable activity, which can have such devastating consequences for everyone involved. However, the drug problem in Cork North Division is no worse than in any other rural division” Insp. Goulding said.
In the first quarter of 2009 there were 190 drug seizures in the North Cork Garda Division. The monetary value of these seizures varied from €10 to €5,000. At present the most widely abused controlled drugs are cannabis herb followed by cannabis resin, cocaine, ecstasy, amphetamine and heroin.
Inspector Goulding continued, “Gardai in the Cork North Division are working in partnership with the HSE to deliver training in relation to drug and alcohol abuse to pub and club owners in Cork North Division.
"It involves extending an invitation for training to all persons involved in the industry including owners, managers, staff and security personnel. The Club Co. Cork Programme is run by the HSE with the support of a number of stakeholders including the Gardai, Southern Regional Drugs Task Force and Emergency Medical Technicians from the ambulance service and security industry. Another initiative is the Garda Schools Programme (Drug Awareness).”
“The Garda Schools Programme, introduced in 1991, is a comprehensive programme implemented by members of An Garda Siochana, consisting of a series of presentations by Gardai to 5th class pupils in primary schools throughout the country. The programme aims to teach children sensible and responsible patterns of behaviour,” Inspt Goulding said.
The schools programme aims to enable children to differentiate between medicines and drugs, to consider the effects of alcohol and tobacco on the body and to help them understand the importance of choice and decision-making in their lives.
Inspt. Goulding continued, “It is often difficult to tell if someone is using drugs because different substances can affect people in different ways. Some, but not all of the signs to look for include – Sudden changes in mood and behaviour from happy and energetic to moody and irritable, abnormal sleeping patterns, loss of appetite, depression, lack of motivation, lying and stealing money or goods, secrecy about activities and whereabouts or keeping late hours and new or strange friends.”
There are three juvenile liaison officers in the Division of Cork North, in Fermoy Garda Christy Kiely can be contacted at the Fermoy garda station – 025 82164. The juvenile liaison officers are actively involved with various youth groups within the community and also with initiatives aimed at diverting young people from criminal activity and drug abuse