The Minister for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy Hildegarde Naughton TD has announced the successful projects for a new €1.5 million drug prevention and education funding scheme.
This scheme supports Priority 1 arising from the mid-term review of the National Drugs Strategy, Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery which commits to strengthening the prevention of drug and alcohol use and associated harms among children and young people.
Speaking in Cork today, where two of the successful projects are based, Minister Naughton said:
“Today’s funding announcement marks a significant milestone in the provision of targeted funding towards drug prevention.
“Prevention is a cornerstone of the National Drugs Strategy – Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery. That is why I feel it is imperative that we support evidence-based initiatives that engage with people who may be at risk of using drugs’ in a variety of contexts – in our schools, communities, universities, and the night-time economy, through timely preventative interventions. A monitoring and evaluation framework will be developed for the successful projects, and those exhibiting a positive impact will be expanded to reach additional groups.
“The successful initiatives already have strong track records in drug prevention, and I’m delighted that, with our funding support over the next three years, they can continue to improve the lives of people by reducing the use of harmful drugs and alcohol from an early age.”
Applications were received from Drug and Alcohol Taskforces, HSE/Community Healthcare Organisations (CHOs), academic bodies, and civil society. Following an assessment process by a panel of national and international experts, five initiatives were deemed successful:
- DASH Mobile Night-Time Economy Project (Cork Sexual Health Centre)
- E-SHIELD UCC (University College Cork)
- Building SAFER Communities through Evidenced Based Environmental Prevention at a Community Level (Alcohol Forum Ireland)
- Know the Score Evaluation (Health Service Executive, Trinity College Dublin)
- Clondalkin Prevention LAB (Clondalkin Local Drug and Alcohol Task Force)
Funding of up to €100,000 a year for three years has been granted to each of the five initiatives providing prevention programmes in school, third-level education, youth work and community-based settings.
Notes to editor:
Strengthening the prevention of drug and alcohol use and the associated harms among children and young people is a priority identified within the recently-conducted mid-term review of the National Drugs Strategy – Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery.
The Strategy promotes prevention as a collaborative effort, which involves a range of stakeholders, including parents and families, those working in education, Drug and Alcohol Task Forces (DATFs), family support networks, youth services, student unions, sporting organisations and networks of people who use drugs.
The Department of Health’s funding scheme has been developed in adherence with the European Drug Prevention Quality Standards (EDPQS), the UNODC/WHO International Standards on Drug Use Prevention and the European Prevention Curriculum (EUPC). These standards compile the latest scientific evidence regarding prevention and will ensure that all work under this programme will promote evidence-based prevention.
Alcohol Forum Ireland - Building SAFER Communities through Evidence-Based Environmental Prevention at a Community Level
This project will develop, implement and evaluate a multi component environmental community action on alcohol project in 12 communities with a view to standardising a model for Ireland. It builds on the work that has been developing in some Task Force areas over the past 7 years.
This project uses the World Health Organisation SAFER measures to provide practical interventions at community level. These SAFER recommendations will be translated and adapted into practical actions within an Irish context. SAFER is an acronym for the 5 most cost-effective interventions to reduce alcohol related harm:
- Strengthen restrictions on alcohol availability
- Advancing and enforcing drink driving measures
- Facilitate access to screening, treatment and brief intervention
- Enforce bans or comprehensive restrictions on alcohol advertising, sponsorship and promotion
- Raise prices on alcohol through excise tax and pricing policies
It aims to implement community action on alcohol programmes through Local and Regional Drug and Alcohol Task Forces.
The project will implement 15 key actions, under the 5 SAFER headings, across 12 communities with a population of 276,982
Cork Sexual Health Centre - DASH Mobile Night-Time Economy Project
This novel project, combining the work of HSE CHO Cork & Kerry Drug and Alcohol Services, Cork Local Drug and Alcohol Task Force, the Southern Regional Drug and Alcohol Services and the Sexual Health Centre, will deliver drug, alcohol and sexual health information and support direct into the night-time economy in communities across Cork and Kerry.
It will be delivered via DASH, a mobile health unit with group and one-to-one meeting space that has been built to encourage the delivery of health promotion activities.
Specifically, the project will map the night-time economy across Cork and Kerry and implement a framework of drug and alcohol outreach in the night-time economy with a focus on young people. Brief interventions will be delivered to young people at a time of increased risk of drug and alcohol use and the associated negative health outcomes. This will contribute to the normalisation of health advocacy in the night-time economy and improve safety for those engaged in the night-time economy.
University College Cork - E-SHIELD UCC
This project will deliver the phased roll-out of the MyUSE app to six Higher Education Institutes. MyUSE aims to increase mindful decision-making with respect to drug-use, cultivate harm-reduction practices in the Higher Education environment and promote alternatives to drug-use activities.
The app, developed by a UCC-based research team, uses specific evidence-based behaviour-change techniques delivered via a clinical algorithm.
The mobile app-based intervention is designed specifically for HEI students. The intervention is designed to prevent and reduce drug use and associated harms for people at all levels of risk. The intervention includes evidence-based harm-reduction techniques and supports knowledge acquisition, skill development, and corrects the skewed social norms relating to drug use.
The target group includes students enrolled in HEIs with the majority aged 18-25 years.
The level of risk is moderate to high in this cohort, with one in five students reporting using drugs in the previous month, with many at moderate or substantial risk of harm.
HSE and Trinity College Dublin - Know the Score
This project will complete an evaluation of the HSE’s ‘Know the Score’ school-based programme and inform the development of strategies for effective implementation and scale-up of school-based prevention programmes and resources.
The resource is aimed at engaging young people in exploring and considering a wide range of topics related to the risks associated with alcohol and drugs.
The study will be a quantitative, longitudinal, comparative study design. The project will consist of an impact evaluation of Know the Score in 12 schools with an estimated 600 pupils, in a mix of settings. This will be followed by a process evaluation which through a series of semi structured interviews and focus groups, examine if the desired changes in structures and processes have been achieved with Know the Score. Upon completion of the evaluation of findings a list of key recommendations will be compiled for the future of the ‘Know the Score’ programme.
In addition, the research team will also develop a national survey to be conducted with all post-primary schools to identify the range of substance use prevention and education programmes, resources and initiatives being delivered in schools nationally. The survey will also identify enablers and barriers to implementation of substance use prevention and education programmes and initiatives.
Clondalkin Local Drug & Alcohol Task Force – Clondalkin Prevention Lab
Clondalkin Drugs and Alcohol Task Force (CDATF) has a long history of responding to the needs of schools regarding support for prevention through drugs education, the development of policy, working with parents or training teachers. As part of their ongoing commitment to quality and best practice they have developed a pilot initiative called the Education, Prevention and Intervention Team (EPIT). The EPIT provides an interagency, agile approach to providing a comprehensive drugs and alcohol response to schools in the CDATF catchment area. This project will see the expansion and enhancement of the EPIT initiative which provides a one-stop-shop for schools seeking support for alcohol and drug prevention.
EPIT also offers interventions to those most at risk. This project will scale the project and develop an evidence-based model of prevention that can be used as a focal point for implementing prevention interventions in schools.
Under this funding proposal, the project aims to work with a minimum of 950 students per year over 3 years (2,850 total). The Clondalkin LDATF and the EPI Team work closely with the Clondalkin Healthy Communities programme and have codeveloped initiatives to provide an enhanced level of health interventions in an area of concentrated social disadvantage. The Clondalkin LDATF is also a member of the Frontline Politeia, a consortium of 15 partner organisations across Europe tasked with developing training for those at the frontlines of prevention in evidence-based theory, standards and practice.