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Chch to benefit from A&D residential treatment

Christchurch to benefit from A&D residential treatment

Christchurch and the South Island will soon have a much needed youth residential treatment centre says local MP and Progressive leader Jim Anderton who chairs the Ministerial Committee on National Drug Policy.

Jim Anderton and Justice Minister Phil Goff today made a pre Budget 2003 announcement, that $550,000 in annual operating funding and a $250,000 one off capital expenditure payment will be provided for a residential facility to support the Youth Drug Court pilot.

“This is one facility we need in Christchurch and I made a bid for it as leader of the Progressive Party to ensure it was funded, “ said Jim Anderton.

The lack of a residential centre has been identified as a major barrier to the success of the Youth Drug Court being piloted in Christchurch, and has been supported by local agencies who must now work in partnership to make the facility work.

“Young people who go through the Youth Drug Court and who need residential care have had to go to Auckland, Hamilton or Opotiki. Being away from family and support networks has often been counter-productive to their rehabilitation.

“The Youth Drug Court arose from a Ministerial Taskforce on Youth Crime and it is estimated that around 80 per cent of youth offenders have a drug or alcohol problem. Although the majority of offenders have been treated nearer their homes in non residential care, Police and other agencies have identified residential facilities as vital to keeping the community and the individuals safe and reducing re-offending,” said Jim Anderton

Phil Goff said, “the budget bid for the resident centre came from the Progressive Party. This highlights the benefits to New Zealand of successful coalition governments where like minded parties work together to deliver positive solutions to the challenges faced by New Zealand communities.”

"The Youth Drug Court is dealing with young people at the more severe end of offending, as well as alcohol and drug dependency. The establishment of the residential facility will make a major contribution towards ensuring the effectiveness of the pilot," Mr Goff said.

The decision on the physical location of the centre and which agency will service it will be made over the coming months, in discussion with relevant groups in Christchurch.

Jim Anderton and Phil Goff co-chair the Ministerial Action Group on Alcohol and Drugs which is responsible for the Government’s campaign to minimise harm caused by alcohol and illicit drug use. The plan will focus on reducing demand, controlling supply and limiting problems associated with alcohol and drug use.

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