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Scottish expert addresses Island drug and alcohol conference 9 July 2008

THE Isle of Man recently hosted a visit by an influential figure in the campaign to raise awareness of drug and alcohol issues in Scotland.

Allan Johnston, business development manager at Scottish Training on Drugs and Alcohol (STRADA), highlighted key areas of his work while addressing local personnel at a conference in Santon. The event was funded by the Department of Home Affairs and organised by the Department of Education as part of the Chief Minister’s Drug and Alcohol Strategy.

It was aimed at providing guidance on the management of drug and alcohol issues among young people, families and carers in the Island. Officials were offered advice on how to deal with substance-related incidents in settings such as care units, schools and youth services.

Mr Johnston stressed the importance of achieving a consistent approach across all government departments and partner agencies. He said a general code of practice could be established and then adapted to suit a wide range of different circumstances. As a result of the conference, a number of local organisations have been urged to ensure that guidelines, training and support are available to all staff who deal with substance-related incidents.

Margaret O’Reilly, director of drug and alcohol policy and research, said:

‘This was an extremely useful event in terms of establishing some common ground in the management of drug and alcohol issues relating to young people. Hopefully those who attended the conference will now feel better informed about the need to have these policies and practices in place.’

Orla O’Donoghue, the Department of Education’s Drug and Alcohol Liaison Officer, added:

‘Updating and sharing information is vitally important and the multi-agency approach in the Isle of Man is paying dividends in that respect.’

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