Pubdate: Thu, 29 Oct 1998
Source: An Phoblacht/Republican News

Four young people from the Beechmount area in West Belfast; Kerri
McIlvenna, Danielle Maguire, Sinead Wylie and John Devine spoke to
AP/RN about the recent seminar on Drugs and Alcohol Awareness jointly
organised by them and the Falls Community Council (FCC) and the
Beechmount Community Project. The evening seminar was attended by 100
young people from local schools and youth clubs from across West
Belfast in Corpus Christi College last Wednesday 21 October.

Following on from completing a 9 week course on drug and alcohol
awareness course run by the FCC, the four decided that the issues
surrounding drug use were too important to walk away from and
initiated, from start to finish, the evening of Quizzes, workshops and
a buffet for their peers.

The group told AP/RN that ``working as a group'' had been an important
aspect of the course and seminar as well as realising that many of the
issues around drug and alcohol misuse ``couldn't be tackled on their

Their main concerns were that drugs should be ``taken more seriously''
and that people need to ``pull together'' in organising ``community
responses''. The group also raised the issue of the need for more
resources, in order to facilitate more youth club activities.

The FCC also runs a range of Open College Network accredited drugs
awareness courses for young people, parents and community workers.

Sean Devine, the FCC's shadow youth coordinator said ``this is part of
a bigger step forward for other young people. It is about these young
people standing up in their communities and will have a knock on
effect as they become peer educators and spread out in the

Devine also said another key issue raised by the young group was the
need for them to educate adults.

The group also said, ``adults need to know about drugs and what to
look for and be part of a wider effort to make ``drug dealers more
aware of what drugs are actually doing to people in the
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Checked-by: Patrick Henry