Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Action needed to reduce drug and alcohol misuse

14 August, 2007

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Children and Young People, West Belfast MLA Sue Ramsey has called for a greater focus on tackling drug and alcohol misuse after the Department of Health published the latest statistics treatment for Drug and Alcohol misuse.

Ms Ramsey said:

"The over-all increase in the numbers of those receiving treatment for drug and alcohol misuse is worrying but the fact that the numbers of those under the age of eighteen in treatment has trebled in the last two years requires urgent action.

"While we must continue to address the general malaise of drug and alcohol misuse the increased numbers of young people being treated requires a special focus.

"The departments of Health and Education need to cooperate. We need to make available the resources and specialist expertise to assist those already addicted. We also need to instigate educational programmes in our schools to make our young people aware of the dangers of alcohol and drug misuse and particularly to roll out peer education programmes.

"Although there is a primary responsiblity on statutory bodies to educate our children in health and social awareness there is a major responsibility on parents and other adults to give good example to our youth.

"Business, particularly the licensed trade and the police service also have an essential role to play. Off-licences, bars, and nightclubs must carry out their business in a manner that does not contribute to the growing problem of underage drinking that is endemic in our society. The over emphasis on the promotion of potent alco-pops and Happy Hour specials should be actively avoided.

"The PSNI must demonstrate that it is doing every thing possible to take the merchants of death who peddle drugs to our youth and they must be supported by the judiciary through stiff deterrent sentencing." ENDS

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