The Justice Minister yesterday appealed to young people to call ‘ last orders’ on alcohol and drug misuse’
David Ford delivered the message at Dunluce School, Bushmills, where he was attending a performance of “Last Orders”.
Developed by a team of doctors, police, NSPCC professionals and teachers, ‘Last Orders’ is a specialist theatre company production telling the story of three young characters (15-17 year olds) as they embark on a night of binge drinking at home with disastrous consequences.
The project is sponsored by Moyle, Ballymoney, Coleraine and Limavady Policing and Community Safety Partnerships.
Mr Ford said: “Problems arising from the misuse of alcohol and drugs cost public services and the local economy millions of pounds every year.
“But this figure does not fully capture the impact that these substances can have on young people, their families and friends and the communities in which we live
“Making the wrong choice at a key times in life can have serious consequences. Educating young people about the consequences of their actions will assist them in making better life choices.
“I want to thank the organisers for inviting me and commend the performers for raising awareness of the potentially life-changing consequences that such abuse can lead to.
““This year, through local PCSPs, I have allocated £335,000 to projects aimed at tackling crime and the fear of crime.
“The money came from assets seized from criminals, who have abused their communities and do not care about the impact of their actions.
“I am pleased that my Department was able to contribute £16,500 towards this project from money recovered from criminal assets.
“I think it is very positive that money taken from criminals is reinvested into project in local communities to make Northern Ireland safer.”
Also attending the performance was Moyle PCSP Chair, councillor Margaret Anne McKillop, praised the initiative:
She said: “It is great to see the recovery of the proceeds of crime being used in such a manner to allow 2,000 young people hear this important social and health message that hopefully will prevent or reduce the harm alcohol can have on their future lives.”