Longford against drugs
The Forum for Longford was established in 1997 to provide a co-ordinated inter-agency approach to identify and help tackle social problems in Longford through the preparation of a strategic plan of action, ideas, expertise and experiences were brought tot the Forum through the members of the various organisations and agencies involved. Many of the social problems in Longford can be related to problems of alcohol and drug abuse. The Forum's first initiative focuses on tackling these problems as they relate to Longford's youth.
The Plan recognises the considerable work being undertaken by the various agencies, identifies the need to identify the current situation in Longford and examines why the problem exists locally. A survey was administered to 1331 students in 10 post primary schools throughout the County. This figure represents almost 80% of the total senior student population with the exception of students absent from school on the day.
FINDINGS OF THE SURVEY
INFORMATION ON ILLEGAL DRUGS
EXPERIENCES OF ALCOHOL AND SMOKING
In relation to the quantity consumed
The results show:
67% had smoked a cigarette, 52% smoked a cigarette in the last year, 8% smoled 5 or more daily, 47% first smoked between the ages of 11 - 14.
ACCESS TO ALCOHOL
The main sources revealed were pubs (74%), discos (59%), off-licences (187%) and home (16%). 93% agreed " it was too easy to obtain alcohol", 97% agreed that "young people drink alcoho; nowadays". 72% agree that "young adults drink to keep up with their friends", 59% disagreed that "drinking alcohol make you feel bad", 80% disagreed with the statement "I will never drink alcohol in my life".
EXPERIENCES OF ILLEGAL DRUGS
On usage of the following drugs respondents indicated that
MAIN SOURCES OF SUPPLY OF ILLEGAL DRUGS
The main sources of supply were identified by the survey as
REASONS FOR TAKING DRUGS
The results of the survey are disturbing and indicate that alcohol is predominantly the major problem in the county. Illegal drugs, while being a problem, are not a major problem. The use of cigarettes by young people is also a cause for concern. This report puts in place a pro-active strategy to promote healthy social development to deal with alcohol and drug abuse which willalso impact on other problematic adolescent behaviour.
RECOMMENTDATIONS OF THE ACTION PLAN
The multi-agency approach proposed in the action plan assists in effectively co-ordinating the work and services of the agencies concerned, including parents and young people in the process in order to help bring about positive change.
The Action Plan recognises that the Youth of today are the future and the leaders of tomorrow. "working together we can make a difference."