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Multi-layered approach to at-risk age group

29 March 2004

Press release

Multi-layered approach to at-risk age group

Waitakere City is spearheading a multi-layered approach to deal with drug-related risk-taking behaviour by the 16-20 age group.

Mayor Bob Harvey, MP Lynne Pillay and Wai Health drug counsellor Russell Phillips will address the inaugural summit meeting on Friday (April 2) of ‘Community Action on Youth and Drugs’ (CAYAD), a Ministry of Health funded project.

The at-risk youth initiative is one of 20 similar schemes through the country aimed at raising community awareness and capacity in dealing with youth and drug-related problems. Waitakere City is one of few territorial authorities to undertake this programme.

A steering group of key community stakeholders, including the police, CADS (Community Alcohol and Drug Services), Te Whanau Waipareira Trust and Hoani Waititi Marae, is guiding the project.

The two-year programme aims to raise community awareness and increase community capacity to cope with the issues of at-risk youth.

Waitakere City’s representative Councillor Greg Presland says there needs to be better coordination between community groups to help at-risk youth from falling down the cracks. He says the key issue is not just about methamphetamine, cannabis and other drug misuse issues.

“It is about young people in transition, earning real money for the first time, making lifestyle choices. This age group is associated with most risk taking behaviour around sex, alcohol and drugs. This behaviour can be life threatening, like getting into cars with a drunk driver,” he says.

A background study released this month to develop strategies for the CAYAD project identifies areas of need and priority in Waitakere City. The assessment included issues of youth, parenting, role models, generational substance abuse and drug and alcohol education in schools.

The report suggests a multi-layered approach to address the various issues of need. It also acknowledging that young people both influence, and are influenced by, their environment.

“To be effective in addressing these issues, the community needs to look at the issue of supply as well as demand,” says Councillor Presland.

There is still time for interested groups to register for Friday’s summit.

Ends

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