The positive influence the ASAP programme is having on the lives of our members is not easily quantifiable. In the six years since its inception the GAA’s Alcohol and Substance Abuse Prevention programme (run in conjunction with the HSE) has reached almost every club in the country. Its aim is simple – to reduce the harm caused by alcohol and substance misuse. The majority of Irish people enjoy a social drink responsibly. However, there is no denying that as a nation we often engage with alcohol use in a way that exposes us to potential harm. The facts are there for us all to see (taken from www.alcoholireland.ie):
- Irish adults drink about 20% more than the average European
- In 2010, the average Irish person over the age of 15 drank 11.9 litres of pure alcohol, according to provisional data. That’s the equivalent of about 44 bottles of vodka, 470 pints or 124 bottles of wine
- More than one in four of those attending accident and emergency departments have alcoholrelated injuries, almost half of which occurred to people under 30 years of age
- One in three crash deaths is alcohol-related
The GAA has always seen itself as more than a sporting organisation, and, as such, extends the duty of care it has to its members beyond the playing pitch. The ASAP programme is just one example of this. The programme continues to offer advice, information, and support to clubs, counties, and all GAA members in and around matters pertaining to alcohol and substance abuse.
ASAP County and Club Officers are doing tireless work to promote messages, material and activities of the programme. The ASAP manual, DVD and website www.gaa.ie/asap are just three resources available that help ensure your club develops a responsible culture around alcohol and substance use. Your County ASAP Officer, in conjunction with the National Coordinator, Colin Regan, is at your disposal at any time for information and education sessions with teams and/or mentors.
If your club does not yet have an ASAP officer or has yet to adopt a Club Drug and Alcohol policy (as required under the GAA Strategic Vision and Action Plan 2009-2015) then please contact your County ASAP Officer (details are available at: www.gaa.ie/clubzone/asap-programme/contact-details/ ) to get advice and a sample club policy. You’ll never know whose life it might change.
You can download the ASAP Manual from kildorrerygaa.com here.