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Drug and Alcohol Strategy roadshow 7 October 2008

Chief Minister at D&A Open DayA VISITING drama group will highlight the dangers of drug and alcohol misuse when it tours the Island later this month.

Members of Theatrebus use interactive performances to get their message across in an entertaining and thought-provoking way. The UK theatre company has a busy itinerary which culminates in an appearance at a roadshow in Peel organised to promote the work of the Chief Minister’s Drug and Alcohol Strategy.

The event, which takes place at the QEII High School on Thursday, October 23, is aimed at raising awareness and understanding of drug and alcohol-related issues. In addition to performances by Theatrebus, several government departments and voluntary agencies will be represented - covering key areas such as treatment and support, community safety and education.

A variety of information stands will outline the initiatives being progressed as part of the Strategy and provide details of the assistance and advice available to the Manx public. Specialist staff and support agency volunteers will be on hand to answer any queries, distribute helpful literature and offer guidance if requested.

There will also be an opportunity for roadshow visitors to express their views on matters affecting their quality of life in the Isle of Man as a result of drinking and drug use. Members of the public are invited to visit the QEII High School between 1pm and 6.30pm, and those wishing to watch the half-hour Theatrebus production should attend at 5.45pm.

The drama group will perform to students earlier in the afternoon to bring the curtain down on a two-week tour that takes in all Year Eights in the Island’s five secondary schools in addition to Year Five and Six pupils at three primary schools.

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

‘The Theatrebus shows are an excellent way of reinforcing our key messages, particularly to a younger audience. Taking a creative and interactive approach to communicating facts about drugs and alcohol is acknowledged as having a positive influence on the attitude and behaviour of students.’

The Western Neighbourhood Policing Team is also playing a prominent role in the efforts to promote a better understanding of issues affecting young people. Working under the umbrella of the Drug and Alcohol Strategy, Inspector Mark Britton is currently spearheading the 2Smart initiative aimed at tackling problems surrounding drinking, drugs, smoking and bullying.

He said:

‘We are working in partnership with other community organisations to highlight a wide range of important issues and identify ways of achieving positive outcomes. This multi-agency approach is already paying dividends in terms of helping some of the more vulnerable members of society.’

Minister for Home Affairs Adrian Earnshaw added:

‘A great deal of hard work is being carried out through the Strategy to raise awareness of the consequences of alcohol and drug misuse. Communication and education are vital aspects of those efforts and the Peel roadshow is an opportunity for people to see what has been achieved to date. It will also provide a platform to voice opinions and concerns. We always encourage public feedback as this information helps to shape our future policies and activities.’

The Peel roadshow will be the forerunner to other similar events, with one planned for Ramsey early next year.

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