“Network Cafés” planned as part of public consultation on substance misuse

Health Science
Picture credit: Unsplash.com

Picture credit: Unsplash.com

Dealing with substance misuse will be a topic of public consultations in the South East over the coming weeks in a WIT/SERDF collaboration

A collaboration between researchers at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) and the South East’s Regional Drug and Alcohol Task Force (with the support of HSE/South East Community Healthcare), will see free public network cafés take place in Carlow, Clonmel, Kilkenny, Waterford and Wexford to gather information towards identifying priorities for a Drug and Alcohol Implementation Strategy for the South East.

WIT researchers commissioned

The South East’s Regional Drug and Alcohol Task Force (SERDATF) have commissioned the Health Sciences/Nursing and Healthcare Department of WIT to conduct a Situational Analysis and Implementation Plan, which will inform SERDATF in its role of co-ordinating the implementation of the National Drug Strategy in the context of the needs of the South East.

A principal goal of the National Drugs Strategy in Ireland is to minimise the harms caused by the use and misuse of substances and promote better health and social outcomes through the provision of a range of treatment, rehabilitation and recovery services. The strategy also identifies the need for meaningful participation amongst individuals, families and communities in the planning, design and delivery of effective services.

Assessing extent and nature of problems

Regional and local Drug and Alcohol Task Forces play a major role in assessing the extent and nature of the drug and alcohol problems within the areas they serve. The Task Forces coordinate a multi-disciplinary targeted local response. In this regard, SERDATF in collaboration with researchers at WIT will be hosting the ‘Network Cafes’ across the region. The purpose of these events is to facilitate collaborative conversation between those in service provision, volunteers, users of the services and/or their families and members of the community affected by issues of substance misuse.

Speaking ahead of the five public events, Laurence Wrenne (Chairperson of the South East Drug and Alcohol Task Force - SERDATF) said: “We are delighted to be working closely with our colleagues in WIT on this. The network cafés are a great opportunity for people have their say on what they feel are the main priorities, as we attempt to drive down substance misuse, reduce harm and provide the appropriate treatment services. This information will be helpful in planning future effective responses to the issues identified.” 

Extensive experience

Dr Michelle Foley, a researcher at WIT with extensive experience in the research field of drug addiction, is the Principal Investigator of the Drug and Alcohol Implementation Strategy for the South East (DAISSE). Looking forward to the process, Dr. Foley said:

“Developing a strategy is a pledge to our communities in the South East that drug and alcohol misuse and its effects will be robustly tackled through a number of approaches, including prevention activities, education, community empowerment and treatment provision. The strategy will complement the vision of the “Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery Strategy” aimed at reducing the damage caused by substance misuse to individuals, communities and Irish society as a whole by 2025.” 

The network café will commence at 6.30pm on the following dates, enues in each of the following locations:

  • Wednesday 27 February - Dooley’s Hotel, The Quay, Waterford
  • Monday 4 March - Clonmel Park hotel, Cahir Road, Clonmel, Co Tipperary 
  • Wednesday 6 March - Carlow Talbot Hotel, Portlaoise Rd, Carlow 
  • Thursday 7 March- Whites Hotel, Abbey Street, Wexford
  • Tuesday 12 March - Ormonde Hotel, Ormonde Street, Kilkenny

These are free events. Those who would like more information can contact Chris Purnell ([email protected]) and Dr Michelle Foley ([email protected]

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