HSE and GAA enlist 900 officers to combat alcohol and drug abuse

THE Health Service Executive and GAA have enlisted 900 officers in clubs around the country to assist members who have a problem with alcohol and drugs.

The Alcohol and Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP) programme has been established to help local GAA clubs reduce and prevent the harm caused by substance abuse by developing a network of people nationwide with specific roles at club, county and provincial levels.

To date, four provincial officers and 32 county officers have been appointed to implement the programme and they are assisted by 900 officers in individual clubs.

Brendan Murphy, national co-ordinator of the ASAP programme said: “We are not looking for people to become experts overnight in dealing with drug and alcohol problems but we are looking for people who are interested in doing something positive to prevent these problems from spreading through our clubs.

“Research shows us that involvement in sport is a preventative factor when it comes to young people taking drugs and through the GAA we provide a huge range of activities that keep young people safe from these harms. The ASAP programme will help us build on that fact and provide a safer and healthier environment for everyone in the GAA.”

David Lane, co-ordinator of drug and alcohol services in the HSE South said: “This initiative is a great way to educate people in communities throughout the region on the negative effects of the misuse of drugs and alcohol. A lot of people are not aware of the dangers for an individual, families and the wider community.

“This programme is part of a wider effort to educate individuals and communities on alcohol and substance abuse prevention. Those involved in implementing the ASAP programme will have access to professionals from drug and alcohol agencies including the HSE who will provide the required training and information to support the local clubs.”


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