On Monday drugs and alcohol charity HURT launched its new Strabane and Education Addiction Training (SEAT) initiative, a six month project aimed at helping young people, parents and school teachers understand the pitfalls of substance abuse.
The SEAT programme was officially unveiled after HURT secured grant funding from the local Policing and Community Safety Partnership.
A core strand of SEAT will be educating young people on the dangers of drugs, in particular legal highs, through school information events. These have already begun among pupils at Artigarvan Primary School.
Further information will be provided on addictions such as gambling, alcohol and solvents.
As well as highlighting the current trend in legal highs to young people at both primary and secondary level, community workers, teachers and parents will also benefit from the HURT programme.
The Addiction Awareness Programme is a two day course designed for teachers and community workers seeking to understand the addiction process, treatments and models.
Train the Trainer meanwhile is a three day programme which seeks to pass on the knowledge and skills necessary to recognise addiction problems and how to deal with them.
Over a six month period, HURT project workers Sinead McNamee and Natasha Howlett along with Dr Hugh Quigley will be rolling out all the initiatives across the Strabane district, through schools and through training programmes such as Rutledge and CRAFT.
HURT manager Dessie Kyle said they were particularly looking forward to engaging with over 300 young people in local schools and community projects.
“We are really looking forward to meeting with as many young people as possible and hopefully building up a longer term relationship with them so they are aware of who we are,” Mr Kyle said.
“We also want to make parents, community workers and teachers as confident as we can when dealing with issues because there is a big onus on them to spot the signs of drugs and how to make a referral where necessary.”
HURT founder Sadie O’Reilly said often intervention by parents in terms of drugs was vital.
“With parents, drugs are a major issue and we feel parents need to educate themselves on how to handle the issue. Often they go into overdrive when they find out their son or daughter has been taking drugs and that is where we come in – we want to teach them how to handle the situation,” Sadie said.
HURT has had a presence in Strabane for several years, providing counselling, complementary therapies and a listening ear service.
With the SEAT programme just about to go live, Dessie Kyle added, “We believe education is the biggest weapon in the fight against drugs and that is why we are so looking forward to rolling out the Strabane Education Addiction Training.”
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