21 September, 2012
Alcohol and drug treatment a vital part of Fresh Start
“Alcohol and drug rehabilitation programmes are a vital weapon in reducing youth crime, helping young people to break out of the cycle of addiction, develop pro-social skills and resist the negative influences of peers,” says Associate Minister Social Development Chester Borrows.
Mr Borrows today visited Odyssey House in Christchurch, which has 27 years’ experience in providing alcohol and other drug rehabilitation programmes to adults and young people.
Odyssey House is one of four residential programmes providing Alcohol and Other Drug rehabilitation programmes to youth under Fresh Start. Fresh Start has provided over $1 million annually to fund an additional 32 residential and 200 community-based programmes nationally each year.
“Many serious young offenders have grown up in an environment where substance use is part of normal, everyday existence, and have entrenched alcohol and drug habits,” says Mr Borrows.
“Through their therapeutic and holistic approach, residential programmes like Odyssey House are giving these kids a chance to break the drug and crime cycle and help improve their quality of life.”
Young offenders referred for residential programmes are most likely to be those with severe addiction, severe co-existing mental health conditions and unstable home environments
Community based rehabilitation programmes are also available for young offenders with lower levels of drug and alcohol abuse. These programmes are individualised to the specific needs of each child and young person, and can involve one-to-one or group counselling, cognitive behaviour therapy, family therapy, education and harm minimisation.
“As part of this Government’s drive to deliver a safer New Zealand, we’re committed to making a real dent in the alcohol and drug issues driving many of our offenders. It’s great to see the investment under Fresh Start delivering this change for our youth offenders,” says Mr Borrows.
The Fresh Start reforms were introduced in October 2010. They include a range of policy changes to provide more effective interventions for young offenders, as well as an investment of $84 million over three years in further programmes such as parenting education. More information on Fresh Start can be found at www.beehive.govt.nz or www.cyf.govt.nz.
Further background information
- The Fresh Start package provides for 32 residential placements costing $675,000 per annum and 200 community placements at a cost of $400,000 per annum.
- In 2011/2012, there were 55 residential placements on alcohol and other drug placements, including seven formal Youth Court orders and 48 voluntary placements after family group conferences..
- In 2011/2012, there were 660 community placements on alcohol and other drug placements, including seven formal Youth Court orders and 653 voluntary placements.
A residential AOD programme includes:
- an individualised treatment plan and educational plan,
- individual, group and family work,
- life skills development,
- recreational activities,
- medical services,
- liaison with mainstream educational and vocational options.