An informative campaign was formally launched in Athlone which aims to heighten public awareness pertaining to discarded drug paraphernalia and advising persons on what measures to take to dispose of such items in a safe manner.
The leaflet entitled ‘A Helpful Best Practice Guide for Drug Litter Disposal’, across the Midland region, was officially launched as part of a public information campaign by Minister of State for Health Promotion and the National Drugs Strategy, Catherine Byrne TD, in the Shamrock Lodge Hotel in recent times.
This information campaign was launched in response to concerns received by the Midland Regional Drug and Alcohol Task Force (MRDATF ) and HSE CADS (Community, Alcohol and Drug Service ) from the community, voluntary, and statutory sectors over incidences of discarded drug litter in areas across the Midland region.
The development of an inter-agency protocol and production of the information leaflet is a result of a co-ordinated response from a working group comprised of representation from the MRDATF, HSE CADS, An Garda Síochána, the County Councils in Westmeath, Longford, Laois and Offaly and Merchants Quay Ireland.
“No one agency can deal with the many different aspects of substance misuse and it is only by working in partnership with other agencies can we maximise the effectiveness of our interventions. In this regard all sectors involved should be commended for this initiative and its multi-agency approach," Joe Potter, Chairperson of the MRDATF, stated.
Launching the Midlands Drug Litter initiative, the Minister of State for Health Promotion and the National Drugs Strategy, Catherine Byrne TD, commended the Midlands Drug Litter committee for developing the informative initiative.
“I want to commend the Midlands Drug Litter Committee for their work in developing this excellent new initiative which provides key information about drug litter and how to ensure safe disposal of items which can pose a public health risk. I am glad to see that the initiative also promotes local drug and alcohol services and supports which is very important in terms of harm reduction for those who affected by drug and alcohol misuse.
The commitment to this project by all local partners and agencies, under the leadership of the Midland Regional Drug and Alcohol Task Force and HSE CADS, is a great example of the partnership approach between the statutory and community and voluntary sectors, which underpins our National Drugs Strategy, ‘Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery," Deputy Byrne commented.
The information leaflet, which will be distributed widely across Athlone and the Midland region, details the County Council number to contact to report incidents of drug related litter and a list of the drug and alcohol services and supports available across the locality.
Listed also on the leaflet is an online link to Drugs.ie, for information on types of drug related litter and detail in relation to safe disposal.
The working group that developed this initiative will continue to meet in 2020 to review the implementation of the protocol including the roll out of the public awareness campaign.