Let’s Talk About Drugs National Youth Media Awards
Students from Athlone Institute of Technology swept up a plethora of awards at the 2018 DRUGS.ie ‘Let’s Talk About Drugs’ National Youth Media Awards. The college’s first year Pharmacy Technician class were recognised in their age categories for their submissions on club drugs and performance and image enhancing drugs.
AIT’s Shauna Finnegan scooped up the winning prize in the 18-21 category with a piece delineating the dangers of taking club drugs, the club culture that encourages drug use, and the significant links between substance abuse and poor mental health. Shauna also discusses how peer pressure and a desire to ‘fit in’ can drive people to engage in illicit drug use and other such risky behaviour.
Shauna’s classmate, Killian Donnellan, came runner up in the 22-25 category with an article looking at the risks associated with performance and image enhancing drugs (PIEDs). PIED use has gone mainstream, he writes and is most commonly taken by young males to either superficially improve appearance or boost athletic performance. Killian recommends that people educate themselves on the long-term ramifications of taking PIEDs such as liver damage, mood swings and increased irritability, and cardiovascular problems.
Honourable mentions also went to AIT students Jennifer Byrne and Megan Corcoran. Jennifer’s entry on performance and image enhancing drugs looks at another, often less spoken about, facet of PIED use-the image-enhancing aspect. The first year Pharmacy Technician student writes from the perspective of weight-conscious young woman whose preoccupation with losing weight causes her to overdose on so-called fat-binding capsules causing her to collapse.
Her classmate, Megan writes about the dangers and prevalence of club drugs, discussing how psychoactive drugs, i.e. drugs that affect the mind and behaviour of an individual, are sometimes used to spike drinks due to the prevalence of odourless and tasteless club drugs like GHB and Rohypnol. Megan believes more education is needed on the topic of club drugs and recommends that social media be used to distribute information and to encourage an open dialogue on the subject.
Lisa Hanlon, the Institute’s Healthy Campus Coordinator, congratulated the students’ contribution to the competition stating: “It is great to see AIT students represented in a national competition, learning more about drugs and winning awards for their efforts.”
The Drugs.ie ‘Let’s Talk about Drugs’ National Youth Media Awards is an annual competition which encourages discussion of drug-related issues by inviting young people to produce a piece of original content relating to drug and/or alcohol use. Now in its fifth year, the competition aims to get young people thinking about the problems associated with drugs and alcohol and find creative ways to talk about them. To enter, participants need to create a piece of original content, which can be a short video or animation, an audio podcast, a news article or a poster. Developed as a local competition by Greater Blanchardstown Response to Drugs in 2007, the initiative is now managed by The Ana Liffey Drug Project.
Megan Corcoran – pictured in attachment