Athlone councillor and chairman of the Athlone Drug Awareness Group, Frankie Keena (FF ), says he is “overwhelmed” with the public response to the group’s recent church gate collection.
Cllr Keena expressed his gratitude to all those who volunteered their time freely to collect, and to those who donated.
“It was a marvellous collection and I would like to assure the public that the money collected will be well spent on drug awareness projects and activities for all sectors,” Cllr Keena said.
“For example, apart from being available to provide ongoing drug awareness talks to any group, sporting organisation, or company, we presently have an excellent free parent-to-parent programme which explores a range of issues pertaining to substance misuse and parenting. It offers advice, information, and key skills in preventing substance misuse and also for managing substance-related issues.
“It is also our intention to continue to link with the schools in running substance misuse projects with the students such as poster and debating competitions. We plan to utilize all events to our advantage by having drug awareness information stands on display prior and after the events. We are very aware of the need to get the message of the dangers of substance misuse out to the target audience and to achieve this we are presently working on other unprecedented ways of achieving this.”
Cllr Keena said the group has recently made a successful application to the Midland Regional Drug & Alcohol Taskforce to develop a County Stakeholder Action Group and a Substance Misuse Action Plan for the county. “This will be a fantastic opportunity for all involved and indeed new groups throughout Westmeath,” he said. “The training and development of the action plan will be funded through dormant accounts. More information on this will be available shortly.”
Cllr Jim Henson, treasurer of the Athlone Drug Awareness Group, also thanked everyone for their support, stating that the group will continue their work in supporting communities and lobbying for extra drug services in the area.
If any member of the public requires drug awareness information they can call (085 ) 2353111.