Minister Frank Feighan launches new Youth Substance Support Service for Cavan and Monaghan

Today as part of a visit to the region, Minister of State with responsibility for Public Health, Well Being and National Drugs Strategy, Frank Feighan officially launched the Cavan and Monaghan’s first support service for under 18s who are concerned about their alcohol and other drug use.    Speaking ahead of the launch, Minister Feighan said ‘Monaghan and Cavan Youth Substance Support (MaCYSS) is a newly established service for young people aged 12 to 18 and their families who are concerned about their alcohol and other drug use, and the first of its kind in the region.I am proud to be launching the service which is being jointly funded by my Department together with the HSE Social Inclusion office’.

Speaking ahead of the launch earlier, Minister Feighan said ‘I am very concerned about the impact of drugs on young people.   My Department provided additional funding in 2019 for a number of strategic health initiatives around the country to support initiatives targeting young people including the Monaghan and Cavan Youth Substance Support service. This is in line with action 22 of the National Drugs Strategy which commits to expanding the range, availability and geographical spread of problem drug and alcohol services for those under the age of 18’.

The recently published National Drug and Alcohol Survey (NDAS) shows us that the age group most likely to report recent cannabis use is our younger people, aged 15 and upwards.    It is very clear that cannabis can cause a lot of damage to people, and particularly young people.  Information factsheets made available earlier this year by the College Psychiatrists of Ireland show that the risk of dependence for our young people who use cannabis is very pronounced, with 1 in 3 young people likely to become addicted if they use cannabis weekly or more often.

NDAS has also reported that monthly ‘Heavy Episodic Drinking’ was most prevalent among 15–24-year-old male drinkers (63.1%) and was also common among 15–24-year-old female drinkers (49.0%) also.

I am determined to ensure that the protection of children from the harms of drug use will be a strategic priority in the new action plan for the National Drugs Strategy 2021-2025’

The Minister added ‘I welcome the collaboration between the Alcohol Forum Ireland in partnership with the HSE, TUSLA and the North-Eastern Regional Drug and Alcohol Task Force in setting up this initiative. This is in line with the national drugs strategy which promotes a partnership approach involving the statutory, non-statutory and voluntary and community sectors working in partnership to address substance misuse.’

Patricia Garland, the HSE Manager for Social Inclusion attending today’s event added: ‘adolescence is a crucial time of intense learning, both in terms of formal education and informally from family and peers. We are delighted to be funding this initiative with the Minister’s Department. 

The Minister also launched a recently published survey report carried out by the MaCYSS development worker which highlights the need for a service of this type in Cavan and Monaghan. 230 people aged 15 years and older took part in the survey.

‘In the research’, explains Niamh McDaid, MaCYSS development worker, ‘we really wanted to hear from local people, from young people and from service providers across the two counties.  All of the information gathered highlights how needed this service is for young people and their families’   70% of people said that there is a problem with young people drinking and taking drugs in their area and 68% of people believe that peer pressure is a key factor influencing alcohol and other drug use among young people in their area.

To read the full MaCYSS report, please visit Alcohol Forum Ireland website: link. Or email to request a copy.

The new MaCYSS Youth and Family service offers a range of supports including:  

  • One to one support with a trained addiction counsellor
  • Developing a personalised Young Person’s plan for those availing of the service
  • Information and education
  • Group programmes and activities
  • Working with the family
  • Identifying and linking in with other supports needed

MaCYSS is open for referrals and is seeing clients. If you require further information on want some advice if you have concerns, please feel free to contact us, or at 085 744 2857.

Last updated on: 21 / 09 / 2021