Newry, Mourne and Down Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) held a series of presentations to school children today outlining the dangers of taking a cocktail of drugs and alcohol. 

The event saw Newry Sports Hall filled with over 500 pupils from the South Regional College, Our Lady’s Grammar School, St Colman’s College, Newry High, Sacred Heart Grammar and St Mark’s High School.

The presentations included a play performed by Theatre Company C21, showing the dangers of taking drugs and alcohol, while also highlighting how easy it is to get involved in anti-social behaviour when under the influence of these substances.

Taking a combination of drugs and alcohol has become prevalent in young people and has only recently come to the public’s attention when it resulted in the death of teenagers in Belfast. One of the main drugs currently being taken is ‘Lyrica’, also known as ‘Bud’ or ‘Budweisers; a prescribed drug for epilepsy and anxiety disorders. 

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Gillian Fitzpatrick said “This is a great initiative by the partners involved as drugs and alcohol can affect so many people and their families. The work of the PCSP helps highlight how problems can creep up on people and how they can have devastating effects on the person or the people around them. Knowing where and how to get help is essential. This series of presentations is a great way of educating young people of the dangers as well as driving the message that support is always readily available to anyone affected”.

A Representative from Start 360, Newry was present on the day to offer advice and guidance on where to source help for drug and alcohol abuse, while Constable Stevenson from the Newry Neighbourhood Policing Team advised the young people of the implications of getting a record for drug related offences. 

Chair of the PCSP, Councillor Brian Quinn stated, “So many young people are taking chances with mixing drugs and alcohol. These drugs are so readily available either on the streets or online and their dangers are not always known, thus resulting in some fatalities. The PCSP would like to give a special thanks to the two young people from the Pop Up Art Programme who spoke about their experience with drugs and alcohol, the situations that they found themselves in and their road to recovery.”