The Crosscare Drug & Alcohol Programme (DAP) has today suggested that those arrested for minor drug offences, in recreational settings such as rock concerts, should be offered options such as Drug Education or counselling at the point of arrest.
Chris Murphy, Director of the Crosscare DAP said it was at the point of arrest or shortly thereafter that the individual may be open to learning about the implications of their drug use. He went on to say that "seeing the point of arrest as a opportunity to understand the personal, social and health implications may divert some-one from more serious drug use or criminal behaviour". This finding has emerged from a piece of research commissioned by Crosscare DAP which states that "drug education is unlikely to be effective unless it is set within the context of a continuum of care from first point of engagement through treatment and into recovery".
At present individuals arrested within recreational settings present to Crosscare DAP, for drug education/ counselling, many months after the offence. These referrals come from the courts, or as a result of a suggestion from a solicitor, but the primary focus for the individual is to avoid a criminal conviction rather than an openness to understand the impact that their drug use may be having in their lives and the lives of others.
Crosscare DAP calls for a more coordinated approach and asks that the Probation Service to consider models such as Arrest Referral that have a proven record in the UK and Australia.
The research: "The Effectiveness of Court Appointed Drug Education - A review from the perspective of the voluntary Sector" will be launched:
Pictured at the Courts Report launch were Bernie Mc Donnell,
CAD, Ger McHugh, Foroige, Chris Murphy, DAP, Retired Justice
Gillian Hussey, Marie Scally, DAP.