MRDATF Drug & Alcohol Awareness Week 2014 Launch

MRDATF Drug & Alcohol Awareness Week 2014 Launch
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
The Midland Regional Drug and Alcohol Task Force (MRDATF) ran its annual Drug and Alcohol Awareness Week from November 10 - 14th 2014, with a total of twenty two events taking place across the counties of Longford, Westmeath, Laois and Offaly.

The Awareness Week was officially launched by Frances Black, Singer, CEO and Founder of the RISE Foundation on Monday 10th November 2014 in the Mullingar Park Hotel, Mullingar Co Westmeath. The launch of the awareness week also coincided with the launching of an "Alcohol & U App" and the official unveiling of the re-developed MRDATF branding which incorporates alcohol under the remit of the MRDATF since early 2013.

Speaking at the launch Frances Black stated "I am honoured and delighted to be associated with the launch of the MRDATF Drug and Alcohol Awareness week.  From my work with the RISE Foundation dealing with families who have a loved one in addiction I am only too aware of the impact of alcohol on families and I believe the Conference and events which have been organised for this week are invaluable".

The primary role of the MRDATF, which is funded by the Department of Health, is to research, develop, implement and monitor a more co-ordinated response to the problem of drug and alcohol misuse as experienced in the counties of Longford, Westmeath, Laois and Offaly.

The aim of the Awareness Week was to focus on increasing awareness about drug and alcohol related issues and to highlight the drug and alcohol support services available to people in the midland region.

Each event that took place was organised by the MRDATF, Community, Voluntary and Statutory agencies within the midland region, each event had a specific target audience to include service providers, general public, students and under 18's.

Antoinette Kinsella, Co-ordinator MRDATF stated "the twenty two events scheduled to take place across the course of the week have been organised through a partnership approach involving a wide range of agencies working in the midland region. On behalf of the Task Force, I would like to warmly thank all of the agencies involved and the Department of Health for their support in putting this programme of events together for the region. Events of this nature are very beneficial as they help raise awareness of the issues surrounding drug and alcohol misuse, help strengthen and support a community based focus to the problem and importantly mobilise partnership responses at local and regional level."

On the morning of the launch Frances Black also opened an Alcohol Conference "The Impact on Health and Society". Organised by the MRDATF and HSE CADS (Community Alcohol and Drug Service), the aim of the Conference was to bring together interested individuals and agencies who work in the field of addiction to engage in meaningful learning and discussion regarding the impact of Alcohol use on the individual and society.

Speaking at the Alcohol Conference Dr Bobby Smyth, Consultant and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Addiction Service HSE stated "Alcohol is a very major contributor to the two main causes of death in young adults, these being accidents and suicides. Much distress and substantial harm is experienced by those people who live with a person with an alcohol problem. This conference represents an important opportunity to look at steps we can take to provide easier access to more integrated treatment in order to meet the many and complex needs of people who run into difficulty with alcohol."

Listed are some of the events which took place during the Awareness Week across the Midlands;

Mullingar: Cara Phort Family Resource Centre, Harbour Street from 11 am - 12:15pm
Wednesday 12th November Straight Talk For Parents
Parents are invited to attend a free information session which aims to give practical straight talking information on the topic of drugs and alcohol with young people.

Portlaoise:O'Moore Place, Community Centre, Portlaoise at 11am
Wednesday 12th November Communicating with your child
This talk will look at a very simple way of communication that will explain the roles we play, recognising how and what we communicate and ways of improving communication.

Tullamore:Family Resource Centre, Arden View, Tullamore at 11am
Wednesday 12th November Coffee morning - Communicating with your child
This talk will look at a very simple way of communication that will explain the roles we play, recognising how and what we communicate and ways of improving communication.

Athlone Institute of Technology AIT, Campus Canteen from 11 - 2 pm.
Thursday 13th November - Get "Real" ....Realistic, Educated, Aware & Listen
Students will be encouraged to take part in an interactive Safer Drinking Campaign which aims to provide students with key messages around safer drinking in order to encourage safety and self regulation.

Tullamore Traveller Movement, Bury Quay, Tullamore at 6pm
Thursday 13th November: Myth or Fact ? Come and Find Out
Offaly Traveller Movement's aim is for Traveller rights and social justice throughout the county. They are a community development organisation offering services responding to health, accomodation, youth, education and human rights. This event is for young people 18 - 18 years and is filled with fun, games, quizzes and facts around alchol and drug use. Information on this serious topic will be presented in a fun and enjoyable way.

Clonbrusk Primary Care Centre, Athlone from 10am - 2pm
Friday 14th November: Interactive Alcohol and Drug Awareness Event
The aim of the morning is to engage the public in a range of interactive activites including quizzes, measuring alcohol units and games to highlight levels of alcohol consumption on an average night out. Treatment and support services will also be there to provide relevant information in relation to the range of local Drug and Alcohol Services available within the region.

Longford Shopping Centre, Longford Town from 12pm - 4pm
Friday 14th November: Longford Local Drug Network Information Day
Local service will provide information stands which will offer opportunities for people to seek face to face informatio or access relevant literature regarding addiction and support and treatment services available

The Attic Youth Café, Temperance Hall, New Street, Longford
Thursday 13th November: Paint Your Own Future at 6pm
Young people will launch their graffiti murals which will be on display on Great Water Stress, Longford Town. The abstract graffiti will focus on positive aspects including the celebration of persona identity , talents and the bright future young people can have based on their choices of today.

Laois Shopping Centre, Portlaoise from 1 - 5pm
Friday 14th November: Art Exhibition Merchants Quay Ireland (MQI) Men's Group
For the past year, ten men recovering from addiction have attended art classes with Laois Partnership and Laois/Offaly Education & Training Board (ETB). The exhibition will display the pyrography and paintings they produced during the year.

Please click here to see photo's of the MRDATF Drug & Alcohol Awareness Week launch and click here to see full detail of the Awareness Week.


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