independent

Tuesday 17 October 2017

Alice's new book encourages children to say no to drugs

By Maria Pepper

Front cover of Yes to Health No to Drugs.
Front cover of Yes to Health No to Drugs.
An illustration from 'Yes to Health! No to Drugs!'.
An illustration from 'Yes to Health! No to Drugs!'.

A Wexford psychotherapist has written and self-published a new book to educate children about the dangers of drug and alcohol and the importance of making healthy choices.

'Yes to Health! No to Drugs! is the work of Alice McLoughlin of Curracloe and is based on a programme she put together for 6th class students in St. Joseph's primary school in New Ross where the Parents Council have hired her to give a talk to older pupils once a year for the past 20 years.

The colourful book which is illustrated with eye-catching artwork by the Wexford-based artist Mirona Mara, is aimed at 5th and 6th class students in the 10 to 13 age bracket, informing them about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse in clear and direct language. It also sets out to inspire children to choose positive activities and to celebrate their individuality.

Alice who has a private psychotherapy practice in Curracloe said she felt that while there is a great deal of literature for teenagers, warning them of the perils of drug and alcohol abuse, there is a serious gap in the market for primary school children.

With lengthy experience in helping people overcome problems including addiction, Alice, a native of south Kilkenny, spent 11 years working in Aiseirí addiction treatment centres in Cahir, County Tipperary and Wexford. She has a B.A (Hons) degree in Psychology and a Master's Degree in Counselling.

But it was her experience of speaking to students in St. Joseph's, New Ross (now part of Edmund Rice Senior School) about the harm caused by drug and alcohol misuse that convinced her of the need for a children's book that would reach a wider audience.

Alice hopes that the child-friendly book will be helpful to everyone involved in the care of young children, including teachers, parents, youth club leaders, , scout and girl guide leaders and counsellors.

'Even more importantly, I think children will find in Yes to Health! No to Drugs! a book that speaks their language,' said the author. 'It outlines in clear and unambiguous terms the danger, often catastrophic and terminal, inherent in drug and alcohol misuse. It also sends out a really positive message to youngsters, urging them to embrace all that is wonderful and endlessly hopeful about being young,' she said.

'That message is to make healthy choices, express their uniqueness in creative and positive ways, embrace the joyful possibilities that life offers in abundance. Avoid drugs and alcohol that often lead to poor school performance, personal unhappiness and dangerous behaviours with horrible consequences. Choose instead all that brings true happiness and sets your life on the path to a bright and healthy future.'

Yes to Health! No to Drugs! will be launched by Marion Rackard, an addiction expert with HSE and daughter of the legendary Wexford hurler Nicky Rackard, at Wexford Library in Mallin Street on October 10th at 7 pm. All are welcome to attend. The book is published by Createspace and is available directly from the author, by visiting her website www.alicemcloughlin.com.

Wexford People

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