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Intense networking to aid youth

Media release
April 6 2004

Intense networking to aid youth

Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey says more intense networking is needed between helping agencies to change the lives of young people in Waitakere City. He was the opening speaker at a Community Action on Youth and Drugs (CAYAD) Summit, where delegates from 30 Waitakere helping agencies discussed strategies to deal with increasing problems of drug misuse among youth.

“It is time to lift our game, to plan together and co-ordinate our efforts. It is time for all the different helping agencies in this city to form ‘Waitakere Community Action’. As a closely-linked network, I believe we can double our impact,” says Mayor Harvey.

The delegates divided into workshops where they discussed strategies to deal with the needs. They heard that intermediate schools can be a ‘breeding ground’ for drug misuse and that education needs to reach the children before they get to high school. There were calls to empower families and increase pressure on suppliers and increase resiliency and life skills amongst young people.

The mayor suggested that a community stock-take is necessary to clarify what resources presently exist.

“We should engage with schools, marae, cultural groups, churches, sports groups and health providers to create a seamless process of referrals so that we do not end up with multiple agencies, unaware of each other, dealing with the same family,” says Mayor Harvey.

Youth at risk need a sense of belonging in the world through education and jobs, sport and appropriate role models, he says.

Community Action on Youth and Drugs (CAYAD) is a Ministry of Health initiative to improve the health and well-being of the population by reducing methamphetamine, cannabis and other drug related harm, and increasing community ownership and capacity top address these health issues. The Summit’s findings were part of a new policy-making process.

MP Lynne Pillay, Waitakere councillor Greg Presland and Russell Phillips of Wai Health Addiction Service also addressed at the Summit on April 2.

ENDS


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