Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 30 - Departmental functions [education] [33521/16].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 30 - Departmental functions [education] [33521/16]. (08 Nov 2016)

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30. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the involvement of her Department in the area of prevention and education relating to addiction. [33521/16]


Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): The main responsibility for providing prevention and education support in relation to addiction lies within the Department of Health. However, as Minister for Children and Youth Affairs I recognise that every interaction with a child or young person brings an opportunity to improve their health and well-being. In Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures improving Health and Well Being is one of the five major national outcomes that we seek to achieve for children and young people.


My Department funds the National Longitudinal Survey, Growing Up in Ireland, which has just this week released the key findings resulting from a survey of children first looked at aged 9 and who are now 17 and 18. The survey shows that children who start drinking or smoking earlier are more likely to drink or smoke more frequently than those who start drinking alcohol later. For example of the 15% who had had a drink at 13 years of age, 62% of those drank 2-4 times per month, compared with 47% who had not. The survey also showed whilst 69% of 17/18 year olds had never used cannabis, 8% reported using it occasionally and 2% used it more than once a week.


Much work has been done with respect to the development of alcohol and drug policies in youth settings through funding provided by my Department. We support these services under the Youth Service Grant Scheme and the Young People’s Facilities and Services Fund, and through the work of a range of youth work organisations.


I believe we need to continue this development throughout all youth organisations within the National Quality Standards Framework for Youth Work, and I am committed to working with youth organisations for this purpose. The National Youth Health Programme is a partnership operated by the National Youth Council of Ireland with the Youth Affairs Unit of my Department and the Health Promotion Unit of the HSE respectively.


The Programme aims to provide a broad-based, flexible health promotion/education support and training service. It includes making healthy choices in relation to alcohol and other drugs, to youth organisations and to all those working with young people in the non-formal education setting.

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