The Irish Bishops’ Drugs Initiative (IBDI) used the occasion of Temperance Sunday to launch a new podcast to raise awareness about the impact gambling, drugs and alcohol addiction can have on young people’s lives.

Launching the ‘Leave Your Mark’ podcast, Bishop Michael Router of the IBDI said, “Addiction is a frightening aspect of life in Ireland today. The rise in the abuse of drugs and alcohol is well documented and many parents, families and communities have suffered and are struggling to respond. Especially in this digital era, gambling has become a huge problem that is destroying lives and livelihoods and is so interwoven with popular sports events. Across Ireland, the co-location of pubs and bookies exemplifies how people can be exposed to the influence of addiction.

“This series of podcasts and videos produced by the Irish Bishops’ Drugs Initiative will help to highlight the problems that exist, and how those who have struggled with addiction have overcome their challenges. It will provide guidance and hope to people that there is a way out of addiction and that there are services to turn to when needed.”

Episode one of this new podcast features a discussion between Tyrone GAA midfielder and 2021 All-Ireland winner, Conn Kilpatrick, and the 2002 All-Ireland winner, Oisín McConville of Armagh, sharing their personal experience with gambling addiction, and who also believe that it is a growing problem among young people. Conn is also interviewed by Newry Parish Youth Forum member Jake McGill, on the highs and lows of his route to becoming an All-Ireland winner.

The podcast series will consist of four episodes involving guests from sports stars to community leaders, who will tell their stories. Students and members of parish groups will also participate in a conversation with guests about the challenges they have faced, as well as hear from a professional on the growing challenges of addiction that face our community.

The podcast content will be used as a resource for schools and community groups as part of a ‘Healthy Life Style’ programme offered by the IBDI.

The ‘Leave Your Mark’ podcast is available on all major platforms:

Bishop Michael Router is Auxiliary Bishop of Armagh and is liaison bishop for the IBDI.

ENDS