Drug Prevention

Through the Regional Drugs Task Force Small Grants, we were able to run a ten week Drugs Awareness Programme with WTG Youth Group. In partnership with Mick Mason and Christy Moorehouse from the Daish Project in Bray, a programme outline was drawn up. Mick arranged visits to the Drugs Courts, Bray Garda Station and Teen Challenge in Tiglin. Christy delivered the programme to the group in CEART. The local JLO also came to talk to the group about some of the legal consequences of drug taking.

 This programme included information giving and education in relation to drugs and their effects and group discussions. The visits offered an opportunity to the group to meet people who were involved in misusing drugs and are now at different stages of recovery and rehabilitation. In both the Drugs Courts and Teen Challenge, the group was invited to ask any questions they had. On the visit to Bray Garda Station, the Community Garda there, answered all the questions asked and gave them a tour of the whole station.

 As part of the programme, we brought the group to an outdoor pursuits centre – Eco Adventure, and they had a fantastic day. This was a way of congratulating them for their participation and commitment to the programme and reinforcing a healthy lifestyle.

Wicklow Travellers Group Drugs Strategy Needs Analysis

On January 21st 2009, Wicklow Travellers Group launched their research piece;

“An Analysis of Needs and Potential for a Traveller-Specific Drugs Strategy in the Wicklow Traveller Group (WTG) Catchment Area”.
This research was carried out by Mairin Kenny, in conjunction with the Co. Wicklow Primary Healthcare project as peer researchers. Funding for the research piece was provided by East Coast Regional Drugs Task Force.
This needs analysis recommends that a WTG drugs strategy needs to build and be informed by
knowledgeable pride in Traveller identity, to counteract the corrosive effects of discrimination and build the Traveller community’s life chances in terms of economic and social activities, to provide a rationale for refusing drug use and abuse. The better the community infrastructure, in terms of capacity, skills and opportunities to pursue improved quality of life, the more effective targeted drugs education, prevention, harm reduction and other treatment actions will be. 
The needs analysis recommends that a Wicklow Traveller Group drugs strategy should be a holistic project, integrated into the broader community development framework that has already been developed. For a youth focused drugs strategy within a holistic framework, recommendations focus on developing social and recreational opportunities for young Travellers, and peer education. The needs analysis also recommends; the development of drug prevention and treatment programmes through narrative therapy (story-telling); new initiatives for Traveller men should be developed; peer education for Traveller women could be developed further and incorporate work on drugs issues; Traveller outreach workers (male and female) should be recruited, and training opportunities identified, and strategies for involving Traveller parents in such as ‘On Your Own Two Feet’ and ‘Walk Tall’ should be explored..
Carrying out the above recommendations will require working together with the local community and mainstream agencies and the commitment of financial support adequate to the development of quality services from relevant funding agencies. In 2007, due to the findings of the needs analysis, Wicklow Travellers Group received funding through the East Coast Regional Drugs Task Force for a Community Development/Outreach Worker.
 A copy of the report is available here

 

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