The Mayor of Drogheda, Cllr Paul Bell, has said a new peer education booklet, dealing with alcohol and drugs issues among teens, will have an impact because 'peers listen to peers'.
He was speaking at the launch of 'Make the Right Choice - Keep it Real', an education booklet which has been put together by teenagers at the Foróige CABLE Project based in Moneymore, Drogheda.
Mayor Bell praised the teenagers involved in the project:
"The drug and alcohol issues dealt with in this booklet are extremely important, not just from the young persons perspective but for society as a whole.
"I want to praise the simple and straight forward language used in this education resource and I welcome the fact that it is being sent to every secondary school and youth service in Drogheda.
"The reason this resource will be so effective is because young people will relate to it as it was put together by young people. In short, peers listen to peers."
The booklet was put together by a group of teenager aged 15 to 18 who are involved in the Foróige CABLE Project in Moneymore. It answers questions like, Why do some young people take drugs? Facts and figures are also provided relating to tobacco, alcohol and cannabis. In addition, teenagers are advised on what to do in an emergency and 19 local agency contact numbers are also listed in the booklet.
The key members involved in the project include Aaron Kelly (14) Tommy Bracken (15) Niall Connor (15) and James McGinn (15). Speaking on behalf of the group Aaron Kelly explained that they hope something positive will come out of it:
"We got a lot of information just by sitting down and talking to each other. Everybody knows that some people our age are drinking and taking drugs but the teenagers who are doing it don't know how dangerous it can be.
"The booklet has a lot of information about smoking cigarettes, drinking and using cannabis. These are the big things for people our age because the stuff is there. We did a lot of research on the Internet and now when we speak to our friends they are shocked at the facts.
"The biggest thing that shocks our friends about this are the long-term effects. Most of them know about the buzz you get first off but they didn't know what the result can be a few years down the road."
The Foróige CABLE Project works closely with the gardai to help young people stay on the straight and narrow. Project co-ordinator Allen O'Donoghue paid tribute to the young people involved and also the gardai:
"The teenagers who completed this project are truly an inspiration to me and everyone in Foróige. I'd like to thank Pobal for funding this important community resource. When you see the finished product it really makes the whole funding application process worthwhile but without that financial support these young people couldn't have carried out this important work.
"We work closely with the gardai and I'd like to pay tribute to them. People really don't see the hard work that gardai do behind the scenes to help projects like CABLE in Moneymore."
Michael Murphy is an addiction counsellor at the Matt Talbot Counselling & Education Service. He described the booklet as a big achievement for these young people:
"The reason it's a big achievement is because they did all the work. We gave the guidance but they did all the research and even took the picture for the front cover etc.
"I think young people will engage with this because it's in their language. They researched all the local services and got those numbers which you can see on the back of the booklet. It really is a credit to them."
For further information please contact:
Foróige Media Officer
Foróige is the leading and largest youth organisation in Ireland. The charity works with 64,000 young people and 5,500 adult volunteers annually, through a network of more than 600 youth clubs & cafés, 154 targeted projects and national programmes such as Citizenship, Entrepreneurship and Leadership.