Two new drug & alcohol prevention and treatment support services for the midlands were officially launched by Minister of State for Communities and the National Drugs Strategy, Catherine Byrne, in the Shamrock Lodge Hotel, Athlone on Friday.
Delivered by leading social justice charity Extern, the MYDAS (Midlands Youth Drug & Alcohol Support ) project will deliver a community based under-18s prevention service for young people and families. The range of services provided includes information and advice, counselling, family support, family therapy, key working and interagency case management.
This project is joined by a community-based drug and alcohol treatment support project for adults that will be delivered by Merchant’s Quay Ireland (MQI ). Focusing on harm-reduction, the MQI project will provide support, therapy, and advice, as well as a needle-exchange programme.
Both services will complement and enhance existing treatment and prevention support services across the region. The projects work on a ‘needs basis’, which means individuals can self-refer or be referred by a parent/guardian, GP, Youth Worker, Social Worker or any other community, voluntary or statutory agency.
“Staff in the Extern MYDAS project are already seeing the impact this project is having on the ground and also the positive reaction to it,” stated Charlie Mack of Extern. “It is allowing young people to seek community-based, voluntary, and non-judgemental support services for the very real challenges they are facing around their own drug and alcohol misuse, and that which exists in their own family.”
The news was welcomed by Cllr. Frankie Keena (FF ), chairman and co-founder of Athlone Drug Awareness. “Every town faces these issues, and Athlone is no different,” he told the Athlone Advertiser. “It’s difficult, but we need to break the cycle.”