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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 30 - National Drugs Strategy [Education] [5521/08].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 30 - National Drugs Strategy [Education] [5521/08]. (14 Feb 2008)

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30. Deputy Catherine Byrne asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if it is within the remit of local drugs task forces to liaise with schools, particularly with senior cycle classes; if he will establish a formal link between the local drugs task forces and schools, which would serve to further educate young people about the dangers of drugs and drug abuse [5521/08]. 

Minister of State at the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Pat Carey): It is open to Local Drug Task Forces to liaise with schools through the various projects that are funded in their areas of operation. Also the Department of Education & Science is represented on Local Drug Task Forces (LDTFs), as well as on the other National Drug Strategy groups. However, the links between LDTFs and schools are not on a formal basis across all Drug Task Forces. Underlying the Deputy’s question is the importance of the education of young people and their level of awareness in regard to the dangers of illicit drugs.

Since my appointment as Minister for State with responsibility for the National Drugs Strategy, I have repeatedly stressed the importance of prevention. At the same time I am not sure if it is necessary to have formal links at local level, rather it may be best to encourage initiatives developed in a local context. Meanwhile, through the Walk Tall programme at primary level and the Social Personal and Health Education (SPHE) programme at second level, all school children now receive substance misuse prevention education as an integral part of their curricula up to Junior Certificate level. I have raised the issue of extending SPHE to the senior cycle with the Department of Education & Science on a number of occasions, most notably through the Inter-departmental Group on Drugs which I chair. In that regard there seems to be particular scope for bringing more focus on drugs education in the Transition Year. The Department are looking at these issues and it is hoped that some progress can be for the next school year. Meanwhile, I can confirm that prevention measures will be among the issues that will be considered by the Steering Group that I have established to work on the development of a new National Drugs Strategy for the period 2009-2016.

Vol. 647 No. 2

Written Answers

Thursday, 14 February 2008

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