The Community and Health Department have worked with the appropriate statutory bodies such as the Health Service Executive (HSE), Drugs and Alcohol Taskforces (DATFs), Alcohol Forum and the Drug and Alcohol Co-ordination Teams (DACTs) to update the GAAs Substance Use Policy and ensure Clubs and Counties are kept abreast of best practice in this area.
All clubs are strongly advised to adopt a Substance Use Policy. The Healthy Club Officer is responsible for overseeing the development, implementation and evaluation of this policy in conjunction with the Club Executive. It is worthwhile launching your clubs Substance Use policy in collaboration with representatives from your regional DATFs & DACTs and An Gardaí Síochána.
The Policy aims to discourage the use of drugs and tobacco and the misuse of alcohol through three key approaches:
· Prevent alcohol and other drug related problems from happening
· Educate members about relevant issues
· Respond appropriately should a problem arise
It is important to note that research shows that once-off talks on the topic of substance use has little or no impact on behaviour change. Clubs should follow a number of steps to help safeguard players and members.
Step 1 – Ensure your club has an up-to-date substance use policy in place and that members are made aware of its content.
Step 2 – Launch the policy in collaboration with representatives from your regional DATF or DACT, An Gardai Siochana or PSNI Community Liaison Officers
Parents remain the primary educators and despite the influence of peer pressure, social media and marketing, continue to be the single biggest influence on their children and teenagers. Clubs can support parents’ by facilitating workshops delivered by recognised and appropriately qualified bodies such as those mentioned above.
Many players form trusted relationships with their coaches, who are well placed to signpost a player/squad to the club’s Substance Use policy. When speaking to players on health-related topics it is worthwhile remembering they are involved with a club or team because they love sport. As they are committing significant time to becoming the best player they can be, if the information provided to them – be it pertaining to diet, the importance of sleep, or substance use – is framed in the context of sporting performance they may be more likely to take that advice onboard.
For more information on Substance Use and Performance contact firstname.lastname@example.org