Home > Conference on drug use in families and communities.

Dillon, Lucy (2018) Conference on drug use in families and communities. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 64, Winter 2018, p. 23.

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On 22 November 2017, a community conference ‘Drug use in families and communities: reducing harm, supporting recovery’ took place as part of Bray Drugs Awareness Month. The event was coordinated by the Bray Drugs Awareness Forum (BDAF). BDAF was established in 1992 and comprises representatives from community, voluntary and statutory organisations, all with a shared interest in drugs issues. The forum works to provide education, awareness, prevention, training, and information on drugs issues for the Bray community.


Approximately 100 people attended the conference, including members of the forum and other stakeholders working in the sector in the Bray area, as well as members of the wider community. The programme included a presentation from Anna Quigley of CityWide Drugs Crisis Campaign on the new national drugs strategy. She presented an overview of the strategy and identified some key challenges to its delivery: challenges to sustaining an interagency partnership approach; those related to local community involvement, including the impact of cuts on local drugs services and general community services; and, features of the overall environment in which the strategy is to be delivered, for example, the lobbying power of the alcohol industry and the increasing complexity of drugs and their markets.


Professor Catherine Comiskey and Karen Gilligan of Trinity College Dublin presented on research they carried out to develop a family and community informed local drugs strategy for children of parents who use drugs. Clara Geaney of Ballyfermot Local Drugs and Alcohol Task Force presented the findings of her research on women, alcohol, health, and treatment. The goals of the study were to support screening assessment and treatment for women experiencing problematic alcohol use within primary care settings; and to strengthen referral between primary care services and specialised substance misuse services.


Presentations were also made by Adrian McKenna of Crosscare Homeless Services and Maureen Penrose, a drug worker who previously worked with Mountview/Blakestown Community Drugs Team. Adrian spoke of the increasing demand on their services and the diverse needs of their users. He also highlighted the need for people to be given permanent rather than temporary accommodation. Maureen spoke of her experiences of supporting families of drug users. She also presented her spoken word piece entitled ‘Grandmothers’.1


Further information on the conference can be obtained from Dr Clay Darcy, drugs education and prevention development officer who works on behalf of the BDAF, at braydrugsawarenessforum@gmail.com.

1  The video of Maureen Penrose can be viewed at http://www.drugs.ie/multimedia/video/grandmothers_by_maureen_penrose

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