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A positive role for CAYADs with drugs and alcohol

26th October 2006

A positive role for CAYADs with drugs and alcohol

In addressing the National Community Action Youth and Drug (CAYAD) hui today on the Orakei Marae Auckland Jim Anderton, Progressive Leader and Associate Minister of Health said CAYADs exist to help communities to take ownership of their own drug and alcohol issues.

"The starting point for action in treating any problem of substance abuse is to acknowledge there is a problem. And communities all over New Zealand have drug and alcohol problems," Jim Anderton said in Auckland.

"According to the Ministry of Health, the social costs of alcohol misuse alone total between $1.5 billion and $2.4 billion a year. But economic measures alone don't adequately describe the full extent of the damage to individuals, to families and to the strength of communities.

"So I won't be supporting making drugs more available. Nor will I support efforts to make alcohol more available. I believe parliamentarians went too far in 1999 when they voted to reduce the drinking age. The evidence, in my view, of lowering the purchasing age has shown increasing damage to young people.

"Our communities are vulnerable to the corrosive effects of drug abuse and binge drinking. They affect whole communities and everyone loses. Drugs will not flourish in an active community where everyone has a stake. Drug culture is not compatible with a culture of optimism and mutual respect. So we have to chose which culture we want – and for me, the choice is easy.

"CAYADs are the spearhead of this strategy and the programme was set up as part of the solution. The project started in the late 1990s with five sites. By 2004, fifteen more were established. This year, a new CAYAD started in Christchurch, and following a tender process, it is hoped that CAYAD projects will go ahead in Wellington and the Hutt, bringing the total number of CAYADs funded by the Labour-Progressive Government to twenty-five.

"CAYADs focus on strengthening communities and they have an important role in addressing drug issues for youth in local communities. For continued success, it is essential that the strengths of the project are consolidated, evaluation of progress made and areas of improvement identified and worked on.

"To enable CAYADs to meet on a regular basis and learn from each other, a tender has recently been advertised seeking a provider to manage the organisation of national and regional hui on an ongoing basis,” Jim Anderton said.

ENDS

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