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Guides and support booklets



Parent information booklet Legal or Illegal Highs ... They're Anything but Safe - Information for parents
Information for parents and carers on talking to young people about legal and illegal highs and what to do if their children are using these drugs.

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Know the facts about drugs Know the facts about drugs

Know the Facts about Drugs is a booklet with information about drugs and drug use. It is aimed at a wide audience and has information that would be relevant to young people, adults, parents and carers.

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Drugs publications:


HIV and drug use

HIV Ireland

Download leaflet


Cannabis and you

Ed Sipler: Health Development Specialist in Alcohol, Drugs and Behaviour Change, South Eastern Health Care Trust (Northern Ireland Publication). 2013 revised HSE version of 'Cannabis and You: The biggest danger is forgetting what it really is !

This booklet is for anyone concerned that their cannabis use is affecting them in a negative way.

Legal Highs & Head Shops: Some basic facts

Ballyfermot Advance Project, 2010

Information on head shops and their products and advice around harm reduction for drug workers.

Use Your Head: Harm Reduction Information

Ana Liffey Drug Project, 2010

Harm reduction information for individuals using psychoactive drugs - legal highs or otherwise.

Safer Injecting: reducing the harms associated with injecting drug use

Merchants Quay Ireland, 2008

A safe injection guide from Merchants Quay Ireland.

Drugs and Ireland

The Irish Examiner, November 2007

News and stories on the nations drug problems
Download Part 1

Download Part 2

Psychoactive Substances

Sinead O'Mahony Carey, Drug Education Officer, Substance Misuse Services, South Tipperary

A Guide to Ethnobotanical Plants & Herbs, Synthetic Chemicals, Compounds and Products.

Citywide Family Support Network resource pack: a handbook for families dealing with drug use

Citywide Family Support Network, 2005

CityWide Drugs Crisis Campaign was set up in 1995 to bring together people in the most disadvantaged communities across Dublin city who were trying to deal with the devastating impact of the drug crisis on their local areas. Responding to the lack of information for the families of drug users was identified as a priority for the Network. It was suggested that we compile a directory of Family Support Groups and other services that families and service providers would find helpful. Therefore, this resource pack is a mix of practical information regarding the supports available to family members as well as a brief description of the experiences those family members can go through. It provides information about family support groups, contact names, and their meeting times

Facts about Drug Misuse in Ireland

Desmond Corrigan, Health Promotion Unit, Department of Health, 2003

Background information on legal, medical, social and historical facts about drugs used for nonmedical purposes in Ireland.

Hepatitis C: A Guide for Drug Users and Their Families

Shay Keating, Drug Treatment Centre Board, 2003


Benzodiazepines: good practice guidelines for clinicians

Benzodiazepine Committee, Department of Health and Children, 2002


Harm Reduction: An Information and Resource Booklet for Agencies Engaged in Drug Education

Department of Applied Social Studies, National University of Ireland, Cork, 2000

This booklet is concerned with the concept and practice of harm reduction as a response to drugs issues in Irish society.


Alcohol publications:


Alcohol-Related Brain Injury: A Guide for families

The Alcohol Forum

Information you need to support your family member and to help you overcome many of the challenges that might arise as the person with ARBI progresses in rehabilitation and moves forward towards a brighter future.

Alcohol-Related Brain Injury: A Guide for professionals

The Alcohol Forum

A comprehensive overview of the crucial roles that various disciplines can play in improving rehabilitative outcomes, and facilitates skill development amongst those professionals most likely to come into contact with ARBI.

Alcohol and You

Ed Sipler & Eileen Hutson. Funded by the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust and the Southern Health and Social Care Trust (Northern Ireland Publication)

This booklet is for anyone concerned that their drinking is affecting them in a negative way. Examine your alcohol use and receive information and practical ideas thathelp you make choices that are right for you.

Less is More: A Guide to Rethinking Your Drinking

HSE Health Promotion Unit, June 2008

Thinking of cutting down? Need some help? This booklet is for you.

Alcohol Marketing, Communications and Sponsorship Codes of Practice

Department of Health and Children, 2008

This code covered the sponsorship of, and activities surrounding, events involving the Alcohol Drinks Industry. At the request of the Department it particularly focused on music and sporting events. It was jointly agreed and implemented in May 2004.


All Substances:

Information for families affected by someone's drug and alcohol use

Western Region Drug & Alcohol Task Force



Family Support Strategy

Western Region Drug & Alcohol Task Force



Addiction & mental illness: two problems, one person.

Dual Diagnosis Ireland. (2016) Dual Diagnosis Ireland, Dublin 

This guide for families document, compiled in the format of a Powerpoint presentation, includes:
• Understanding Dual Diagnosis
• Mental health systems
• Working the system
• Learn about the campaign


Women and homelessness: a resource guide.

Walsh, Kathy (2015) Simon Communities of Ireland, Dublin


The S.M.A.R.T. method

HSE and Mid West Regional Drugs & Alcohol Forum

This publication describes general fundamental elements of nutrition and training required for safe and effective muscle building.

Taking the Lid Off

Developed through the Taking the Lid Off Partnership by ASCERT, South Eastern Trust & Barnardo’s (Northern Ireland Publication)

A resource for families living with addiction and problematic substance abuse.

Substance Misuse in Pregnancy

HSE Drug Liaison Midwifery Service, Dublin

Information booklet that may be useful if you are pregnant or thinking about starting a family. It is written for women with a history of substance misuse or on methadone maintenance therapy.

GAA Club Manual for Dealing with Drug and Alcohol Related Issues

GAA, 2007

This manual will help all clubs to develop a Drug and Alcohol Policy. Developing a Club Drug and Alcohol Policy is central to every clubs response to this issue as it will enable every club to outline what can be done at local level, with the help of local professional services, to prevent and respond to alcohol and other drug problems. A sample policy has been added to the appendix to aid clubs in this regard.

Substance Misuse and Alcohol Policy

Slieveardagh Vinters Federation, South Eastern Health Board, 2004

This publication outlines a framework to address issues that affect vinters and their ability to manage and maintain their premises. It includes a section on responsible serving, dealing with underage drinking, education and managing a drug-related incident. It also includes a directory of local services and a brief section containing information on some substances.

Developing an Alcohol and Drug Policy for Your Workplace

Western Health Board, 2003

A drug and alcohol policy provides a framework to address drug and alcohol issues in a supportive way while complying with responsibilities in relation to health and safety.


Children and Young People:


Sharing experiences and suggestions around alcohol & substances abuse: A collaberative guide for parents

The Institute Of Guidance Counsellors (2013) 3rd Ed

This booklet aims to provide assistance to parents by outlining the views of experts in the field of adolescent development, and by sharing the lessons learned by parents, teachers, and teenagers from the various schools participating in this initiative.



Think about alcohol. [Teaching Resource]

Kerry Children and Young People’s Services Committee. (2015)

This booklet provides information on alcohol for young people and their parents to help them discuss drinking openly and honestly. It looks at how drinking alcohol might affect young people and highlights the services that are available when help is needed.


Help Me Understand. 

The Children's Society.

A booklet to help children, young people and workers talk about an adult’s alcohol and drug treatment


Young persons’ support programme. [Teaching Resource]

National Family Support Network. (2015)

Over the past 12 months, the NFSN has developed a Young Persons’ Support Programme (YPSP) and it is hoped it will be a helpful resource that Youth Projects, Drug Projects and Family Resource Centres can use in order to reach out to and support this vulnerable yet resilient demographic. The Young Persons’ Support Programme is a ten module activity based programme that supports the development of coping skills in young people living with problem drug or alcohol use in their homes.  The modules are included below and the NFSN hope that by implementing such a programme, many Young People around Ireland will get the care and support that they need during a difficult period in their lives.

Please feel free to download, print and use this resource. If you have any queries please don’t hesitate to contact Siobhán on 018980148 or at

Link to resources

Guidance for providers of health and social care services for children. Communicating in plain English with children and their families.

Health Information and Quality Authority. (2015) Health Information and Quality Authority, Dublin

Communicating in plain English with children and their families; this guide will help you to communicate more clearly with children, their parents or other caregivers, and friends. It will help you to think about how you present information so that children and others will understand it the first time they read or hear it.


Step by step toolkit. Preparing for work with children and young people who inject drugs.

International HIV/AIDS Alliance, Harm Reduction International, Save the Children, Youth RISE. (2015) International HIV/AIDS Alliance

This tool is a product of a partnership between Harm Reduction International (HRI), Youth Rise, International HIV/AIDS Alliance and Save the Children and was developed in response to HRI research on injecting drug use among under 18s globally that highlighted gaps in the response for this group. This resource is intended for harm reduction service providers with limited experience of working with children and young people who inject drugs. It sets out a process that you can go through quickly, with little cost, to prepare for work with children and young people who are under 18. It is designed to help your organisation and staff to feel safe in commencing this work, and to support you in thinking through the challenging situations and decisions that you face. In some cases, it may lead you to decide that you are not yet ready to go ahead with this work.


Meitheal toolkit.

Tusla Child and Family Agency. (2015) Tusla

The Meitheal Toolkit is intended for use by practitioners using Meitheal – A National Practice Model for all agencies working with children, young people and their families. It provides direction, guidance and advice on all stages of the Meitheal process and as such can be used as a roadmap for undertaking a Meitheal effectively.


Straight Talk

HSE Health Promotion Unit

A useful guide for parents on how to deal with teenage alcohol use. Either to delay a teenager from starting to drink or deal with the issue of a teenager that is already drinking.

Don’t Lose The Head

Crosscare Drug and Alcohol Programme, 2010

Don't Lose the Head is an easy-to-read booklet for parents, whether or not they have teenagers who use drugs. Colourful and catchy, it provides parents with the distilled wisdom of two services involved in drug prevention.

Alcohol and Drugs: A Parent's Guide to Drugs

This guide is published by the HSE Alcohol Programme, 2018.

Practical advice to help you communicate with your child about alcohol and other drugs.

Dealing with Young People’s Alcohol and other Drug Misuse: A guide for parents and carers

Ed Sipler, Health Development Specialist in Alcohol and Drugs (Northern Ireland Publication)

Finding out your son or daughter is drinking or using other drugs can be extremely difficult to deal with. This booklet is for parents and carers who find themselves in this situation.

Sharing Experiences and Suggestions Around Alcohol and Substance Abuse: A Collaborative Guide for Parents 

Brian Wall 

This booklet aims to provide assistance to parents by outlining the views of experts in the field of adolescent development, and by sharing the lessons learned by parents, teachers, and teenagers from the various schools participating in this initiative.

Making the Links – A practical guide to the use of programmes supported by the Department of Education and Science in the implementation of the SPHE curriculum

Department of Education & Science / NDP / Dublin West Education Centre

Making the Links is a guide to using materials from the Walk Tall Programme, the Relationships and Sexuality Education Programme (RSE) and the Stay Safe Programme. It is a response to requests from teachers for a comprehensive guide to using these materials in the context of the SPHE curriculum.

Let’s Talk Drugs: How to Talk to Your Children About Drugs

The Irish Examiner, January 2008

This special supplement from the Irish Examiner provides information on a number of illicit drugs, advice for parents, and contact details for drug and alcohol agencies throughout the country.

Development of a Parents' Resource Manual Booklet to Equip Parents/Guardians to Provide Early and Appropriate Responses to Young People’s Substance Use: Literature Review

Pauline Clerkin, Crosscare, Dublin, 2008

The purpose of this literature review was to conduct a comprehensive review of international and national research and literature in order to identify and document best practice with regard to primary and secondary prevention of substance use and identify and document the range and levels of current programmes, strategies, interventions resources available for parents in this regard.

Where do you go when you go out? Young people’s views on youth friendly facilities in East Cork

Mary McGrath and Deborah Lynch, January 2007

The report presents a snapshot of some aspects of young people’s lives, experiences, feeling and views in East Cork. They told us emphatically that they do not have adequate facilities; they identified where they go and what they do currently and what they would like to happen in the future. This includes recreational facilities and places to “hang around” with friends. They also identified the issues that concern them.

A Parents Guide to Drugs

Health Promotion Unit, Department of Health and Children, Department of Education and Science, 2005

Information on talking to your kids about drugs.

Understanding Substances and Substance Use: A Handbook for Teachers

South Western Area Health Board, Kildare, 2005

This booklet aims to provide accurate evidence-based information to promote understanding of drugs and drug use. Includes definitions of terms, signs and symptoms of drug use, responses to drug use situations within a school context, guidelines for speaking about drugs, contacts and resources list.

Dealing with Drugs, Alcohol and Tobacco in Youth Work Settings: Guidelines for Youth Workers

National Youth Federation, 2004

The document has also undergone a national consultation process involving both internal and external agencies. This document provides a framework for developing good practice in dealing with drug related issues on the ground and, via the Appendices that are included, provide the additional source materials, legal information and contacts required to respond in as effective a manner as is possible when faced with dealing with issues of drug use by young people.

Prevention of Drug Misuse for Sixth Class (primary school), District North Dublin Suburb

Crosscare Drugs Awareness Programme, 2003

This programme was set up to help pupils to improve their knowledge attitudes and skills, so they will be motivated and able to avoid drug misuse. It is recommended that the programme should be set in the wider context of Health Promotion and Health Education. It should include sections on self esteem, decision making, coping with feeling, positive attitudes to health and taking responsibility for one's own well being. The programme is divided into five days, with notes and methods for each day included.

Social & Personal Health Education (SPHE) School Handbook (Junior Cycle)

Department of Education and Science, September 2003

This draft handbook has been designed to help coordinators, teachers and school management organise meaningful and sustainable SPHE programmes in their schools.

Guidelines for Developing a School Substance use Policy

Department of Education and Science, 2002

The central objective of a school’s substance use policy is the welfare, care and protection of every young person in line with the Education Act, 1998 and the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000. The policy should address both education concerning alcohol, tobacco and drugs and the procedures for managing incidents relating to these substances.

Inchicore National School Education and Prevention Project

Crosscare, Drugs Awareness Programme

Lesson plans designed for a ten-session programme for prevention of drug misuse for groups aged 11-12 years.

Support Pack for Dealing with the Drugs Issue in Out-of-School Settings

National Youth Health Programme, Department of Education and Science, Department of Health, Health Promotion Unit, National Youth Council of Ireland, 2002

Essentially, this is a support manual, which will be a practical resource and reference guide for those who are involved in the development of drug related policy and strategy. The training that accompanies this manual is targeted at individuals who have advanced knowledge of drug issues and an appreciation of the value of Youth Work approaches.

Social & Personal Health Education (SPHE) Teacher Guidelines (Junior Cycle)

Department of Education & Science and the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, 2001

These draft guidelines are designed to support teachers in implementing the SPHE curriculum in the classroom and in designing teaching and learning that will meet the overall aims of SPHE and the particular objectives associated with each topic.

Health Promotion in Youth Work Settings: A Practical Manual

The National Youth Health Programme, 1999/2000

This manual aims to introduce those working with young people to good practice in health promotion.

Social & Personal Health Education (SPHE) Primary School Curriculum: Teacher Guidelines

Department of Education & Science and the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, 1999

The curriculum is structured in such a way as to treat the social, personal and health dimensions of the child’s life in an integrated manner. It provides for the development of a broad range of values, attitudes, skills and understanding relevant to the child’s health and wellbeing, to other people, and to the society in which he/she lives.

Social & Personal Health Education (SPHE), Primary School Curriculum

Department of Education & Science and the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, 1999

The curriculum is structured in such a way as to treat the social, personal and health dimensions of the child’s life in an integrated manner. It provides for the development of a broad range of values, attitudes, skills and understanding relevant to the child’s health and wellbeing, to other people, and to the society in which he/she lives.

Youth work support pack for dealing with the drugs issue

The National Youth Health Programme, 1998

A manual for drug prevention work with young people

Young People and Drugs: Critical Issues for Policy

Barry Cullent, Proceedings from a half-day seminar, November 22, 1997, Trinity College Dublin


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The HSE and Union of Students in Ireland (USI) ask students to think about drug safety measures when using club drugs
Harm reduction messages from the #SaferStudentNights campaign.
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