This was the positive message being delivered to all the students receiving their Junior Certificate results.
As part of the Ballinasloe Alcohol Strategy, the Western Region Drug and Alcohol Task Force, in conjunction with An Garda Síochána, facilitated interactive sessions with students and distributed hundreds of copies of a new leaflet called ‘Teenage Years – A teenager’s guide to protecting yourself on a night out.’
Emmet Major, Community Liaison Worker and Neil Wilson, Education support worker, both with the Western Region Drug and Alcohol Task Force explained that the Junior Certificate is a big milestone for Irish students. However, it can, and should be celebrated as a major achievement without the risk of injury, sickness or indeed, arrest, because of the harmful effects of alcohol.
“We always want students to enjoy themselves on their big night out,” said Emmet. “They deserve it, they studied hard and now they are receiving the results for that hard work. However, we want them to know that they don’t have to have a drink to have a good time. In fact, they are more likely to have a better time without touching alcohol or drugs. Being alcohol free is by far the best option.”
Speaking the following day, Neil added “It’s good to hear that there were only two arrests of under 18’s in East Galway last night. Although these are preliminary figures we hope this reflects well on the vast majority of students who enjoyed their big night out – and remembered it!”
The new leaflet takes a straight-forward look at teenagers and alcohol. It tells teenagers how to keep safe on a night out, how to be prepared for pressure from others to drink, things to consider before you try drink and essential safety information in case someone has had too much to drink.
As parents are the most important influence on teenager’s attitudes to alcohol, the WRDATF always encourages parents and guardians to take an active role in working with their children to ensure they stay as safe as possible when they go out.
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