We want our young people to lead healthy and happy lives, but unfortunately some of our young people come from backgrounds of incredible trauma and abuse and at Youth Off The Streets we know that these experiences can lead to addiction of – and dependence on – alcohol and other drugs.
Abuse of prescription or legal drugs is nothing new. Our team at the Dunlea Alcohol and Other Drugs Youth Service have seen first-hand how harmful abuse of legal drugs can be.
The University of Sydney’s report into calls made to Australian poisons information centres found more than 33,500 self-poisoning incidents of people aged five to 19.
We believe there is a bigger problem at hand than just addiction.
Suffering from trauma is life changing. If left untreated, trauma can have immediate negative impacts as well as long term effects that hinder growth. At Youth Off The Streets, we recognise that our kids often turn to alcohol and other drugs, not as a ‘fun’ or ‘cool’ activity, but in desperation to escape trauma and deal with mental health issues.
We take the abuse of any substance very seriously, however there needs to be better support systems for our young people who suffer from trauma. These kids are abusing alcohol and drugs as a direct response to a lack of mental health treatment.
As part of our Dunlea Alcohol and other Drug program our kids are fully supported by counsellors and psychologists throughout their treatment. We find that the best way to help young people turn their lives around is to give them the tools to do it themselves – and sometimes part of that is to help them overcome trauma.