“THERE is a huge need for the Youth Drug and Alcohol Project (YDAP) service, we get calls about youth all the time”.

This is according to Trevor Bissett, Coordinator of the Clondalkin Drugs Taskforce.

“There are three workers in the YDAP service, Jimmy

Norman is the driving force, but we are looking to expand,” says Trevor.

While there is currently adequate funding for the service, it may become an issue in the future.

The service is funded by the Department of Health, the Health Service Executive

(HSE) and Community Services Enhancement funding.

“The Community Services Enhancement funding is up next year, we have enough until 2025. We’ll review it then, if we don’t get that we will have to look around and see what we can do. It would be a huge loss if we didn’t have the funding,” said Trevor.

YDAP are also looking to expand the service they provide. “We are looking to maintain the funding and hopefully to expand it. We are also in desperate need of a premises,” said Trevor.

The three YDAP workers work from an office but go out “on a satellite basis” to schools, youth services and community centres. Bearing in mind that Clondalkin is a large area this provides another challenge.

“The workers will go out and meet a young person, we work really well with schools, we will go to the school, it’s quite  novel,” said Trevor.

As engagement with young people can be difficult, reducing barriers to accessing the service is very important, according to Trevor.

While the number of people that YDAP work with varies, they have capacity to work with 25 individuals.

There have been some notable changes to drug use and dealing over the years.

“Crack cocaine has been on the increase since 2012, it’s a significant issue. Nitrous oxide is another. Cannabis use is also a key issue amongst under 18’s. Alcohol is there too, but it’s not causing the issues it has in the past. There are also the related mental health issues,” said Trevor.

While some people were previously using the trains that service the Clondalkin area to access drugs, this issue of drug-dealing has moved to other areas of the community, according to Trevor.

YDAP provide a continuum of care to young people and their families, including carrying out an initial assessment.

“We find out what’s going on. If the person is in agreement, we create a comprehensive assessment care plan which deals with issues related to their needs such as school, their health, and the plan is [then] put in place,” said Trevor.

YDAP take a holistic approach to each individual. “We help the person to move away from the substance use, we deal with the other issues.

“A person doesn’t use cannabis just to use drugs, we try to implement a care plan to address those issues,” said Trevor.

If the person is under 18, YDAP will work closely with the parents.

“When you work with a person under 18, it’s different to working with an adult. There are families involved, we work with the parents, we provide comprehensive support with the parents’ agreement,” said Trevor.

If necessary YDAP will help parents to address the issue of a young person who is acting out so it doesn’t make the problem any worse. “Communication is really important,” said Trevor.

The issue of adequate community Gardaí is also crucial, according to Trevor.

“We lost really experienced Community Gardaí in the last year, the last 6 months.  It’s important that they are replaced. We are always calling out for extra community Gardaí, that needs to be prioritised,” said Trevor.