A new community-based initiative emerges in Dublin in view of the need for prevention among at-risk groups and communities.
According to the latest statistics from the Health Research Board, two people in Ireland die every day of drug-related causes, most of them of overdose. With 10,000 people treated for drug use in the last year alone and one of the highest rates of drug-related deaths in Europe, Ireland passed crisis point a long time ago.
So where do we go from here?
This was the topic of a recent open discussion held to mark International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. The meeting was attended by volunteers, parents, community leaders and former addicts who gathered at the National Affairs Office of the Church of Scientology in Dublin.
Speakers highlighted that the bulk of the work done currently by agencies and community groups—whether harm reduction projects, support services or legislative changes—aim to come to grips with the constantly worsening scene by assisting active drug users and those who are addicted. But inadequate attention is given to prevention among the much larger at-risk groups.
As one participant put it, “Children are not born with the idea that they should take drugs, be it for fun or to overcome adversity. They get this idea at home, at school, in their community. One of the problems is that there is nobody to help them understand factually the effects of drugs, despite the real-life experiences so many of us have had. Drug education which leads to understanding, informed decisions and freedom of choice might not prevent everyone from taking drugs but it certainly can save lives among at-risk groups.”
Another shared his harrowing personal story of drug abuse, addiction and crime, which robbed him of 15 years of his life. “I am lucky to be alive today. I am eager to use my experience to help others in my community not to make the same mistakes I’ve made.”
Another added, “To reach the young generation we need to reach the parents and the entire community.”
Guests learned of the educational materials of the Truth About Drugs campaign. Initiated and supported internationally by the Church of Scientology, the campaign is in widespread use in most countries in the world today. It offers a complete multimedia kit, which aims to dispel misconceptions and empower youth and adults alike with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions about drugs.
All participants agreed that prevention through high-impact drug education is urgently needed for at-risk groups and in the community at large.
Those attending discussed forming a community-based Drugs Forum to oversee the execution of grassroots, independent projects along these lines. Such a forum is now planned to begin in September 2023.
The National Affairs Office of Dublin was dedicated in October 2016 by Scientology ecclesiastical leader Mr. David Miscavige, who also officiated at the opening of the Church of Scientology and Community Centre of Dublin the following year. To learn more about the activities of the Church of Scientology in Ireland, watch Destination: Scientology—Dublin on the Scientology Network.