HSE & GAA join forces to tackle alcohol and drug problems in local clubs



The HSE and the GAA have joined forces to take an active role in preventing the abuse of alcohol and drugs in Ireland.

The Alcohol & Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP) Programme which is a joint venture by the HSE and the GAA is helping local clubs to reduce and prevent the harm that is being caused by alcohol and drugs by developing a structure of people throughout the country with specific roles at club, county and provincial levels.

To date, four provincial officers and 32 county officers have been appointed to implement the programme. The appointments of an ASAP club officer in every club around the country is also well underway with over 900 officers appointed to date to assistcounty officers to respond to drug and alcohol related issues within their own club.

Brendan Murphy, National Coordinator of the ASAP Programme said “We’re not looking for people to become experts overnight in dealing with drug and alcohol problems but we are looking for people who are interested in doing something positive to prevent these problems from spreading through our clubs. Research shows us that involvement in sport is a preventative factor when it comes to young people taking drugs and through the GAA we provide a huge range of activities that keep young people safe from these harms. The ASAP Programme will help us build on that fact and provide a safer and healthier environment for everyone in the GAA”.

The GAA Club Manual for Dealing with Drug and Alcohol Related Issues and more recently the DVD ‘Club Matters’ and a very informative website at www.gaa.ie/asap has recently been produced to show clubs what can be done to respond to problems at local level. It is important for every club to develop a Club Drug and Alcohol Policy as a roadmap for what can be done in their local area. The steps and all the information necessary to do this are in the ASAP Manual.

David Lane, Co-ordinator of Drug & Alcohol Services, HSE South said “This initiative is a great way to educate people in communities throughout the region on the negative effects of the misuse of drugs & alcohol. A lot of people aren’t aware of the dangers associated with the misuse of drugs & alcohol on the individual, families and the wider community. This programme is part of a wider effort to educate individuals and communities on alcohol and substance abuse prevention. Those involved in implementing the ASAP programme will have access to professionals from drug and alcohol agencies including the HSE who will provide the required training and information to support the local clubs”.

To become an ASAP club officer or for further information on the ASAP programme, please contact your ASAP county officer as follows:

Diarmuid Gowen, Cork ASAP County Officer – Tel: 086 8243356 or e-mail: dgowen@fba.ie

Brian Sugrue, Kerry ASAP County Officer – Tel: 087 2385419 or e-mail: bpsugrue@eircom.net

Last updated on: 29 / 10 / 2008