Drug and alcohol awareness week will highlight dangers of drinking during pregnancy

The Western Region Drug and Alcohol awareness week which runs from November 12 to 16 aims to increase awareness of drug and alcohol related issues and highlight the supports that are available.

Fifteen events will take place in Mayo during the week in Castlebar, Westport, Ballina, Swinford, Claremorris, Achill, Belmullet, and Ballinrobe. During this week one of the topics that will be highlighted is the dangers of drinking alcohol during pregnancy.

A meeting of the Castlebar Joint Policing Committee on Monday heard that the Western Region Drug and Alcohol task force was set up to assist and support communities in developing their own initiatives against drugs.

Community liaison officer Pat Conway told the meeting that people in communities could see what was happening but were unable to deal with what they encountered.

A second campaign being run by the task force, ICE (in case of emergency ) your phone in case of an emergency, was also explained by Mr Conway to members last Monday.

He outlined that members of the public are asked to have a designated contact in their phone in cases of an emergency. This contact should be saved as ICE. According to Mr Conway 75 per cent of people do not have an ICE contact.

Another project the task force is implementing is the Community Harm Initiative which aims to help communities to reduce alcohol and drug related harm in their area.

The task force also launched a support website www.supportme.ie which lists a range of support services across 20 different categories.

Castlebar Fine Gael councillor Eugene McCormack said drugs and alcohol were probably the biggest problems facing society. “The pattern of alcohol consumption has changed. The days of the pub are gone and people are drinking a lot more at home which is far more insidious,” according to the councillor.

Community representative on the committee Mr Rod O’Donnell suggested that as well as ICEing your phone, people should have an ICE contact on the back of any membership cards they hold such as the men’s shed membership card which offers such a service. He said in the case of an accident if a phone was damaged the ICE contact saved on the device would be of no use.

It was the opinion of Independent councillor Michael Kilcoyne that the 999 emergency number should be the first port of call for anyone looking for a support service. He felt that anyone calling 999 should be supplied with the facility he/she requires by the operator.


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