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Support manual for dealing with substance use issues in and out of school setting

The issues stemming from substance use in contemporary Irish society are a continuing source of concern for policy makers, communities, law enforcement agencies and a range of professional practitioners. Since the publication of the original NYCI manual in 2003, significant changes have taken place in Ireland. These changes are evident in the spheres of substance use policy development, economics, in society in general and within the discipline of youth work.

It remains unclear what the full impact of the current economic downturn will be on substance use and service provision. It is clear, however, that in light of increasing austerity measures, services for those who attempt to engage with people who use substances are increasingly under pressure. With this in mind their remains a need for youth services to continue to play an important role in engaging and supporting young people at risk of, or currently using substances. This support manual is intended to serve as a practical resource and reference guide for those who are involved in the youth work sector. It advocates for a holistic understanding and approach to the issue of substance use and young people.

This manual also advocates that issues relating to substance use and young people should not be viewed solely as a specialist area requiring input from experts, but rather should be viewed as being within the realm of good youth work.

This manual provides an overview of substance use in Ireland, theories of substance use, information on youth work and its substance use interventions and prevention. It also provides an overview of recent policy development in Ireland in this regard. It aims to enhance the skills of community youth workers in providing effective substance use education and support that is need-specific. It is anticipated that this manual and the accompanying training will stimulate interagency co-operation, encourage comprehensive service provision, and provide added value in the area of youth work and substance use prevention in line with best practice guidelines.