A GROUP of 26 young people recently completed a seven-week drug and alcohol awareness course held in Monkstown and Rathcoole.
The course, funded by the Public Health Agency through South Antrim Rural Network, helped the young people gain in-depth knowledge about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. It also gave them the opportunity to produce a short film and leaflets to educate other young people in their areas about the potential hazards of drink and drugs.
On completion of the course, the young people enjoyed a residential trip to Todd’s Leap Activity Centre. The weekend away, funded by the Youth Justice Agency, proved a big hit with the teenagers, who enjoyed a range of outdoor activities and extreme sports.
Commenting on the success of the course, Phil Hamilton from the Community Support and Development Partnership said: “The danger of drugs and alcohol is an issue that affects many young people across the borough of Newtownabbey and across society as a whole. If we educate young people so they are aware of the dangers it will help them make informed decisions in later life.
“This project is a small step, but an important step to addressing the issues of health, drugs and alcohol in our community. We have found that the young people have enjoyed the community health-based education programme and already we have a waiting list of other young people wishing to participate in similar projects which is very encouraging.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank South Antrim Rural Network for funding the programme and the Youth Justice Agency for making it possible for the young people to attend the residential.”
Curtis Macteer, one of young people who participated in the programme, added: “I thought before the programme I fully understood the dangers of drugs, but that wasn’t the case. I learnt loads about the dangers of drugs and alcohol and it was a great course to be involved in and I would urge other young people to attend the next programme.”