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Written Answers. - Alcohol and Drug Abuse.

Wednesday, 18 December 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 559 No. 6

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 47. Mr. Stanton Information on David Stanton Zoom on David Stanton  asked the Minister for Education and Science Information on Noel Dempsey Zoom on Noel Dempsey  the programmes in place in schools to combat alcohol and drug abuse; the cost of running these programmes in 2002; the reviews which have been carried out into the effectiveness of these programmes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26809/02]

Minister for Education and Science (Mr. N. Dempsey): Information on Noel Dempsey Zoom on Noel Dempsey Education concerning alcohol and drug misuse and abuse is addressed in both primary and post primary schools in the context of the social, personal and health education, SPHE, curriculum. Specific measures have been put in place to ensure that all schools within the local drugs task force areas, at both primary and post primary levels, implement substance misuse education and prevention. Support officers have been recruited to assist LDTF schools with this work. At national level, it is intended that every primary school will implement the SPHE curriculum which includes substance misuse education and prevention, by September 2003. Walk Tall is detailed educational resource material which is provided to schools to support teachers in addressing substance misuse education and prevention. Comprehensive in-career development has been provided to teachers for Walk Tall. The primary curriculum support programme is organ[1492]ising, on a phased basis, in-career development programmes for all teachers in SPHE and has allocated approximately €1.6 million from its budget in 2002 to this work.

In addition to this, a budget of €645,000 was allocated in the financial year 2002 to support this service in primary schools in the local drug task force areas. From this budget a once off Walk Tall grant of €500 was allocated to all primary schools in the local drugs task force areas in 2002. An independent evaluation of Walk Tall was published in December 1998. The findings of this evaluation were very positive and encouraging and a further evaluation based on the experiences and responses from schools in the LDTFAs is currently being undertaken.

In post-primary schools, the implementation of SPHE, which incorporates substance misuse education and prevention, at junior cycle has been supported by the post-primary SPHE support service since September 2000. This service works in partnership with health promotion personnel in regional health boards. A budget of €1.2 million was jointly allocated to the SPHE support service in 2002 by the Department of Education and Science and the Department of Health and Children and health boards. It is expected that all post-primary schools will have implemented SPHE as part of their junior cycle programmes with effect from September 2003. On My Own Two Feet is key educational resource material which supports teachers in addressing substance misuse education and prevention in the context of SPHE. An independent evaluation of the implementation of the junior cycle social personal and health education curriculum at post primary level is being undertaken at present.


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