The Drugs.ie Youth Media Awards launched back in October, and the competition is accepting applications for the 2017 awards until February 2017. I entered and won the 18-21 category last year, and talked about it here. I’m sure most of us are conscious of the growing concern surrounding drugs and alcohol and young people in Ireland – it is an issue we need greater literacy on across the board.
I had previously entered the awards before they were taken over by the Ana Liffey Drug Project, back when I was 14, and entering again as a 21 year old was a brilliant experience. Each year brings a new topic, and applicants are invited to submit audio, written, or visual pieces as well as artwork, with prize categories in each. Last year, I wrote about polydrug use and the dangers of consuming MDMA and alcohol. Talking about drugs is not an easy thing to do, but the Youth Media Awards applicants are all young people just like you trying to learn about drugs and help peer educate on dangers and responsibilities around recreational drug use, and the harm it can bring families and friends of drug users – highlighting that the damage does not just affect the user themselves.
Being at the awards last year was incredibly enlightening – seeing people as young as 12 voicing opinions and perceptions on drug and alcohol use in Ireland was incredible, and highlighted how important the drug awards are in giving young people a voice as much as they are in helping educate other young people. The awards themselves were fun in the sense that everyone present was there to be recognised for achievements and efforts put in to their submissions, whether that was research or drawing on personal experience. The prizes are just the cherry on top. I’ve found that submitting pieces (I wrote two last year) to the Awards helped me become a better researcher, and I’ve got something to put on my CV – especially beneficial to people coming out of school or going through college, as there are tonnes of applicants and being picked as either a winner or a runner up is an incredible achievement.
So go on, what are you waiting for? Enter here!