New service to support young people on dangers of alcohol and drugs

A newly established service for young people concerned about alcohol and drug use is looking for feedback on the issue. Monaghan and Cavan Youth Substance Support (MaCYSS) have launched a short survey to establish areas of concern.

Anyone in Cavan and Monaghan aged 16 and over can participate in the online surveymonkey poll. MaCYSS is a service for young people aged 12 to 18 and their families focusing on alcohol and other drug use. The new MaCYSS service is delivered by Alcohol Forum Ireland and is funded by HSE, Tusla and the North Eastern Regional Drugs Task Force.

Patricia Garland, the HSE Manager for Social Inclusion says adolescence is a crucial time of intense formal and informally education on the topic: “Alcohol and drug use which affects, impairs, or hinders young people in their physical, emotional, social or academic development is harmful. We are asking people from Cavan & Monaghan to complete the survey so we can work with the community in the further development of the MaCYSS service meet the needs of young people and their families.”

Recent data from the National Drug Related Deaths Index (NDTRI) suggests there was a total of 86 drug and/or alcohol related deaths among persons aged 24 years or younger in 2017. Data from the 2014/15 General Population Survey shows that 18.7% of 15–17-year-olds used illegal drugs in the past year with cannabis having the highest use among this age group.

Eight in ten (81.9%) children in Ireland reported that they had consumed their first alcoholic drink by the age of 17 years. Two-thirds (62.0%) of 17-year-olds reported having been ‘really drunk’ in their lifetime. While just 5.2% of 13-year-olds reported having been ‘really drunk’ in their lifetime, 42% of this age group who have drank alcohol reported having been given it by a parent or guardian on their last drinking occasion.

Niamh McDaid, development worker with the new service, said the national data is a cause for concern, but more local information is needed: “Much of what we know about alcohol and other drug use among young people is based on national research, which is really important. But with this survey we are really looking to hear from local people right across Cavan and Monaghan. What are the main concerns that people have? The survey is open to anyone aged 16 and over and we are anxious to hear from as many people as possible.”

Niamh says the local service needs to respond to local needs: “Key to that is hearing from people.

The new MaCYSS Youth and Family service offers a range of supports including: one to one support with a trained addiction counsellor; developing a personalised young person’s plan for those availing of the service; information and education; group programmes and activities; working with the family; and identifying and linking in with other supports needed.

MaCYSS is now open for referrals. Further information or advice is available at macyss@alcoholforum.org, or at 085 744 2857.

To take part in this local survey use the link:

The survey opens from Friday 30th April and closes end of day on Friday 14th May 2021.

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