There is no easy way to reduce the number of children who are trying to solve their problems by using alcohol and drugs. Any effective campaign to address child substance addiction must involve the whole community.
According to a report in the Waikato Times, in the past 18 months 72 children with full-blown addictions have been treated by the Waikato District Health Board’s child and adolescent addictions services. The youngest of these children was 12 years old.
Rongo Atea manager Shell Brown says she is not surprised at these numbers. “I would have expected more, actually,” she said.
“Those numbers didn’t come close to showing how big the issue really was, with many children being treated at community facilities such as Rongo Atea. “It’s going to take a whole community approach,” Brown said.
So far this year they’ve had 20 young people through the facility – but only six have graduated so far.
Rongo Atea, run by Te Runanga O Kirikiriroa, is a residential treatment facility for teens aged 13 to 17 who have problems with alcohol and substance abuse. Most of the teens come from the greater Waikato or Bay of Plenty
Image: Press Association
News category: Features.