Home > Report highlights the benefits of community-based drug projects.

Carew, Anne Marie (2011) Report highlights the benefits of community-based drug projects. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 37, Spring 2011, pp. 18-19.

PDF (Drugnet Ireland, issue 37) - Published Version

Youth Work Ireland Cork (YWIC) published a report, Youthwork as a response to drugs issues in the community,1 in January 2011. The report was officially launched by Brian Crowley MEP in University College Cork.

The research was commissioned by YWIC and was undertaken by Mr Pat Leahy, School of Applied Social Studies, UCC, and two students from the Bachelor of Social Work undergraduate degree course.

The report highlights the effectiveness of small, locally based harm reduction projects that feature dedicated and skilled workers in dealing with drug-related issues. The key findings of the study, as published in the executive summary of the report (pp. 1–2), are reproduced below.

  • A social rather than medical or legal based response to drugs issues offers policy makers and practitioners a genuinely holistic methodology for effective intervention                
  • A local rather than universal response rooted in harm reduction allows for cultural, geographical and community factors to dictate the nature of an intervention
  • Effective praxis in this field requires skilled, independent, reflexive, motivated and creative practitioners operating within a supportive agency setting
  • A clear theoretical framework encompassing knowledge of young people, drugs work, human behaviour and communities is a fundamental prerequisite to best practice
  • A high degree of service visibility in the community and easy access to the services is required
  • Community based projects work effectively with service users who will never enter treatment; they offer drug users an effective alternative to medicalised responses
  • In many cases inappropriate and problem drug use is a consequence of social inequality; interventions that can respond to these social issues in (particularly disadvantaged) communities offer the people who suffer from drugs issues a far more comprehensive range of services than a medicalised response.
  • Human contact between the service user and the practitioner in the form of a relationship founded on trust is the key building block of success
  • In terms of cost effectiveness community based projects offer excellent value for money; the overwhelming majority of funding is used in the provision of frontline services.


1. Leahy P, Bennet E and Farrell A (2011) Youthwork as a response to drugs issues in the community. A report on the Gurranabraher–Churchfield Drugs Outreach Project: profile, evaluation, and future development. Cork: Youth Work Ireland Cork. Available at www.drugsandalcohol.ie/14610


Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
All substances
Intervention Type
Prevention, Harm reduction, Crime prevention
Issue Title
Issue 37, Spring 2011
Page Range
pp. 18-19
Health Research Board
Issue 37, Spring 2011
Accession Number
HRB (Available)

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