Alcohol and Other Drugs Education

Image of person who wrote blog. Did you know that we provide a range of education and training courses in the field of alcohol and other drugs for professionals who come into contact with alcohol and other drug issues, as well as community and voluntary workers and people in recovery from addiction? In this blog our Alcohol and Other Drugs Coordinator, Christina McEleney, tells us more about it.

Alcohol, smoking and illegal drug use kills 11.8 million people worldwide each year. That’s more than the number of deaths from all cancers. Ireland is not immune; alcohol consumption has always been relatively high in Ireland and now, added to this, is the increased use of illegal drugs, over-the-counter and inappropriate prescription use. There is also wide availability of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS), new chemical compounds which are completely synthetic drugs that can be unpredictable in their effects on the human body and brain, some of which have been fatal. Cocaine is at record production in the world and cannabis has been found to be laced with synthetic cannabinoids. Alcohol and other drugs have a profound impact on family, community and society. Donegal ETB offers the opportunity to upskill and remain informed on these topics.

Almost fifteen years ago Donegal ETB partnered with the North West Regional Drugs and Alcohol Task Force (NWRDATF –, University of Limerick, HSE West (Donegal), and the local Alcohol Forum to develop and deliver a University of Limerick Diploma in Drug and Alcohol Studies in the North West Region inclusive of Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim and West Cavan. A key part of the partnership work with other statutory agencies and community and voluntary organisations was to advance elements of the National Drug Strategy (which you can read here). Part of that work over the years involved a pilot project with Limerick University Hospital Midwifery Department on screening and brief interventions for alcohol consumption during pregnancy and the coordination of the University of Limerick Diploma in Drug and Alcohol Studies on an outreach basis.

Over time it transpired that a suite of shorter courses was needed for the North West region which are evidenced based and up to date with current trends in drug use, to keep professionals who come into contact with alcohol and other drugs as part of their work up to date with what’s happening in the field. These courses include:

  • Cannabis and your mental health
  • Vaping: what we need to know right now
  • Synthetic cannabis – what you need to know
  • Cocaine; the risks
  • Awareness of the misuse of prescription drugs and over the counter (OTCS) drugs
  • Motivational interviewing skills
  • Hidden harm (

Since then almost 2,000 people have availed of education and training courses in alcohol and other drugs from Level 5 Community Addiction Studies to half day continuous professional development courses.

If you would like to find out more, contact Christina at