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British-Irish Council delegates attend drug officials meeting in Jersey

24 September 2010

Delegates from the British-Irish Council have been learning about 2 community-based projects which deal with drugs, alcohol and anti-social disorder in Jersey at a drug officials meeting hosted at the Radisson Hotel today (24 September).

The first presentation was delivered by Mark Capern, an area youth officer from the Jersey Youth Service, who described the work carried out by the Street Based Youth Work Team. The team makes contact with young people on the streets, parks and other areas where they meet - some of them are vulnerable and hard to reach, and may be putting themselves at risk.

The team provides information and advice to young people on a range of issues including drugs, alcohol, sexual health and education. They also direct young people to other agencies which can provide further support, such as the Youth Enquiry service (YES), Brook, the Alcohol and Drug Service and the Prince’s Trust.

The Chair of the Community Action Group, Colin Russell, gave the second presentation about an initiative set up in 2007 to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in St Helier through community engagement and participation. The Safer St Helier Community Partnership aims to find sustainable solutions to local problems. An example is the award winning Q-safe Taxi Marshal Scheme which has reduced the number of serious incidents at the Weighbridge taxi rank to almost zero, helping passengers and taxi drivers to feel much safer. The scheme is funded by revenue generated from advertising on and in taxis. The Safer St Helier Community Partnership will be introducing a number of other initiatives during the next 12-18 months, including an awareness and training campaign targeting underage drinking; a campaign on cocaine misuse and the introduction of a 'chill out hour' for night clubs.

During the meeting, delegates also updated each other on various developments in their jurisdictions relating to alcohol and drugs such as ‘legal highs’, head shops, binge-drinking and stimulant drugs.

Director of Jersey Alcohol and Drug Service, Michael Gafoor, told the delegates that per capita consumption of alcohol, needle-sharing, heroin overdoses and deaths had fallen in Jersey over the past 3 years. He also reported that Jersey will be hosting a British-Irish Council ministerial meeting next year.​

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