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Keane, Martin (2004) EDDRA Column. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 11, June 2004, p. 20.

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Welcome to the eighth EDDRA (Exchange on Drug Demand Reduction Action) column. The aim of this column is to inform people about the EDDRA online database, which exists to provide information to policy makers and practitioners on drug demand reduction actions across Europe and to promote the role of evaluation in drug demand reduction action. The database is co-ordinated by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA).

In this issue we focus on the St Aengus Stay-In-School Youth Project, which operates in Tallaght in West Dublin. The project was included on the EDDRA database in 2002 as representing good practice in drug prevention in Ireland. Recent developments suggest that the project is now accepted as a model of good practice internationally.

 The project was set up in 1998 to maintain 'at risk' young people, aged 10-15 years, from St Aengus parish in Tallaght in mainstream education. The underlying assumption of the project is that when 'at risk' children are maintained in mainstream education, there is a reduced risk of their engaging in substance misuse. The association between early school leaving and drug use has been highlighted in research, both in Ireland and the UK. Comiskey1 found among 112 early school-leavers in Ireland that 51.1 per cent had used drugs prior to leaving school, with 46.5 per cent of these reporting that their drug use had affected them at least sometimes while attending school. Research from the Youth Lifestyles Survey in the UK showed higher rates of drug use for truants and those excluded from school, compared with those routinely attending school.2

 The St Aengus project, along with two other European projects (one each from Portugal and Austria), has recently been used in training seminars on drug prevention and evaluation held throughout Portugal. The three projects were used as examples of good practice because of their clear design and interesting evaluation. Over 150 Portuguese professionals in the field of prevention attended the seminars, which were organized by the Institute for Drugs and Drug Addiction. The seminar participants worked actively with the three project examples in group discussions, improvising on their design, learning how to apply concepts of operational versus specific objectives, discussing the use of relevant evaluation instruments, reflecting on the variables and instruments for a good project description and evaluation.

 An evaluation of the St Aengus project in 20003 found that all those who had participated in the project over the previous two years were still in mainstream education. Project activities were extremely well received by participants, reflected in attendance rates of over 90 per cent at all activities. The project’s annual report for 2001 showed an increase in the number of parents attending parents’ sessions and in those expressing satisfaction with the projects activities.4 In addition, the number of volunteers giving time to the project had also increased.

1.  Comiskey CM and Miller RTH (2000) Young people, drug use and early school leaving. A report submitted to the Research and Development Committee, Department of Education and Science.

2.  Goulden C and Sondhi A (2001) At the margins: drug use by vulnerable young people in the 1998/99 Youth Lifestyles Survey. Home Office Research Study 228. London: Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate.

3.  Rourke S (2000) St Aengus Stay-In-School Youth Project: a process evaluation. Dublin: Tallaght Local Drugs Task Force.

4.  St Aengus Stay-In-School Youth Project. Annual Report 2001.

More information on the St Aengus project and other Irish projects in the EDDRA database can be obtained from the EDDRA website at http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/themes/best-practice/examples 


Item Type
Publication Type
International, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
All substances
Intervention Type
Issue Title
Issue 11, June 2004
June 2004
Page Range
p. 20
Health Research Board
Issue 11, June 2004
Accession Number
HRB (Available)

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