The Cessnock Community Drug Action Team has identified smoking, cannabis and alcohol misuse as prominent risks to local youth health and safety, with the potential to act as gateways to widely accessible harder drugs.
Further highlighting the issue within the Hunter New England Local Health District, Youth Off the Streets found that 79% of organisations working with youth had identified substance misuse as the top social issue affecting school attainment.
Established in 1991 Youth Off The Streets has offered their services in the Hunter Valley since 2009. The non-denominational organisation supports over 3,000 young people facing homelessness, substance dependency and abuse in NSW and QLD every year by providing crisis accommodation, drug treatment, alternative high school options and outreach.
Our Community Grant will help Youth Off The Streets to deliver the Teen Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART) program to 20 youth between the ages of 12-21 struggling with addiction. The program will be run by trained local community services staff and will provide weekly workshops that aim to equip participants with best practice principles and treatments for substance addiction.
Delivered in a youth-friendly, community setting the program will work to reduce the stigma associated with treatment for addiction by focusing on peer support and building self-management skills, rather than substance issues.
The program draws on a variety of strategies including enhancing and maintaining motivation to abstain, coping with urges, problem solving and lifestyle balance. Participants will have the opportunity to set achievable weekly goals, with the aim of building confidence and capacity to break addiction.
Interventions like Teen SMART Recovery during critical adolescent years can reduce the risk of addictive behaviours becoming entrenched into adulthood, reducing the likelihood of a young person experiencing mental health issues, disengagement from the community and poor life outcomes.
By using an evidence-based program, this project gives young people the most effective skills and information to assist their recovery.
This project provides increased capacity to the service sector in the Lower Hunter, providing access to Teen SMART Recovery facilitator training to local service professionals for ongoing implementation in the community.
To learn more about the program visit Youth Off The Streets.