Raising drug and alcohol awareness in Longford

Teresa Connell, Avril Gilchrist, Lorraine Hughes, Eilish Browne, Ciara Loughlin, Josephine Lee ( Midland Regional Loacl Alcohol Task Force), Ruth McGarry Quinn, Orla Canning, Daire O'Muiri, Aideen Skelly, and Katie Morrison. Photo: Shelley Corcoran
Last week marked Drug and Alcohol Awareness Week across the midlands, and a number of events were held in Longford to coincide with it.

Last week marked Drug and Alcohol Awareness Week across the midlands, and a number of events were held in Longford to coincide with it.

Organised by the Midland Regional Drug and Alcohol Task Force (MRDATF), more than 20 events took place across the counties of Longford, Westmeath, Laois and Offaly.

“The kids involved in the Attic Youth Café launched a graffiti mural on Thursday night in the Temperance Hall,” said Teresa Connell, a Drug and Alcohol Education Worker who works at the Foróige-run centre in Longford town.

“It’s going to be put in place on Great Water Street, opposite the County Council offices, and we’re hoping it’ll stay in place there for some time.”

Teresa explained that the aim of the projectis to educate young people, “so they can make informed decisions”.

The following day, Friday, saw the County Longford Drugs Forum host an information day at the Longford Centre.

“A number of local groups were present to provide information on the supports and services available in the local community,” Teresa continued.

The initiative was launched on Monday of last week, November 10, at the Mullingar Park Hotel.

“It was a great occasion, with about 180 people attending it,” Teresa added.

Launching the week-long series of events was singer Frances Black, who is the founder of the RISE Foundation, which helps families of people with addictions.

Speaking at the launch, she said: “I am honoured and delighted to be associated with the launch of the MRDATF Drug and Alcohol Awareness Week.

“From my work with the RISE Foundation dealing with families who have a loved one in addiction, I am only too aware of the impact of alcohol on families, and I believe the conference and events which have been organised for this week are invaluable.”

Also speaking was MRDATF Co-ordinator, Antoinette Kinsella, who said, “The 22 events scheduled to take place across the the course of this week have been organised through a partnership approach involving a wide range of agencies working in the midland region.

The event at the Mullingar Park Hotel also saw the unveiling of the new ‘Alcohol & U’ phone App, which has information on the effects of alcohol, as well as a standard drinks calculator, which allows the user to calculate their level of consumption.