As the countrys largest community organisation, the GAA have taken an active role in preventing the abuse of alcohol and other drugs.
In 2005 the GAA launched the Alcohol & Substance Abuse Prevention Programme, the aim of which is to reduce the harm that is being caused by alcohol and other drugs.
The goal of the ASAP Programme is to have 4 Provincial Officers, 32 County Officers and an ASAP Club Officer in every club in the country. Since we began over 900 officers have been appointed to implement the Programme.
The ASAP Programme is a joint venture by the GAA and the Health Service Executive and is helping clubs prevent problems from arising in the first instance and respond effectively when they do.
To show clubs what can be done to respond to problems at local level we have produced the ‘GAA Club Manual for Dealing with Drug and Alcohol Related Issues and more recently the DVD ‘Club Matters and a very informative website at www.gaa.ie/asap
Were not looking for people to become experts overnight in dealing with drug and alcohol problems but we are looking for people who are interested in doing something positive to prevent these problems from spreading through our clubs.
We believe it is important for every club to develop a Club Drug and Alcohol Policy as a roadmap for what can be done in their local area. The steps and all the information necessary to do this are in the ASAP Manual.
Education is another crucial factor. A lot of people dont know that much about illegal drugs and if you are one of them its easy to find out all about them from the ASAP website. There are also a myriad of professionals from drug and alcohol agencies who are only too willing to help by providing drug/alcohol education events for clubs.
Research shows us that involvement in sport is a preventative factor when it comes to young people taking drugs and through the GAA we provide a huge range of activities that keep young people safe from these harms. The ASAP Programme will help us build on that fact and provide a safer and healthier environment for everyone in the GAA.
National Coordinator ASAP Programme
10-Jul-08 by Brendan Murphy