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Addicts’ families seek help

FAMILIES of addicts came together last Tuesday night, February 2 to find answers and support at the Crush Ice family solutions seminar at Wonthaggi.

“Children get caught up in the drug scene in the two places they feel most comfortable: at school and within the home. That is where the seed is sewn,” keynote speaker Malcolm Smith said.

“Anything that attacks the family also attacks the community and we need to work together to provide help for addicts.”

Mr Smith flew down from Western Australia where he is the executive officer of Teen Challenge WA.

Following a successful ice forum in October, people gathered again to hear Mr Smith’s advice over two hour workshops held on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Wonthaggi Workmen’s Club.

Teen Challenge is a residential program aimed at helping people to overcome life controlling issues and addictions. The organisation has 1200 centres in 100 countries worldwide and has been running for more than 40 years.

“It is not difficult to get people off drugs. It is difficult teaching them how to live a life worth living without drugs,” Mr Smith said.

“We detox all of our students from drugs and then teach them how to live a meaningful life. We tell them to not let their past determine their future.

“We as parents need to understand that our children choose their destiny.”

The program is a 12 to 18 month residential rehabilitative program in Esperance, Western Australia which combines compulsory lectures, group workshops and recreational activities in an interdenominational Christian environment.

Mr Smith discussed the tell tale signs of a drug addict.

“They begin to blatantly lie, they adopt new friendships, they begin to steal from you and they then become violent,” he said.

“You would think they would recognise they have a problem but they live in delusion. They lie to themselves and tell themselves there is nothing wrong with what they are doing.”

Mr Smith said addicts’ families become dysfunctional because siblings feel left out and parents feel a sense of guilt and feeling that they have failed to bring up their child.

“The drug addict in turn becomes the boss of the family. There has to be consequences. They need to be willing to change and grow by taking responsibility for their bad choices,” he said.

Latrobe Community Health mental health officer Wendy Gilbert introduced regional agencies who were present to give support and advice to families of addicts.

Latrobe Community Health Service has centres in Moe, Morwell, Churchill and Traralgon that offer alcohol and drug support services.

The service offers counselling both over the telephone and face to face, group sessions, support recovery programs, as well as a nine week recovery program for those who have completed a withdrawal program and wish to maintain a drug and alcohol free lifestyle.

ACSO referral services were also on hand to share information with family members.

ACSO offers help to both addicts and their families who are seeking support to overcome addiction and other mental health problems.

Bass Coast Health attended to discuss the latest day programs available at Wonthaggi Hospital.

South Gippsland Side by Side Youth Care Network gave information about its latest campaign. Side by Side is a school focused youth service for people under the age of 18.

The network supports vulnerable young people who are at risk of losing engagement with their education and training. The team assists with a number of issues including mental health problems, drug and alcohol use, crime, trauma, domestic violence and bullying.

Neil Meyer, the executive director of Teen Challenge Victoria, answered questions about the residential program based in Kyabram.

The centre houses young men aged 16 years and over to overcome addiction and life changing problems. Similar to Teen Challenge WA, the Victorian site hosts programs that run from 12 to 18 months.

Crushing ice: from left, organiser  Rick Olden, Latrobe Community Health liaison Wendy Gilbert, Bass Coast Shire Council mayor Cr Jordan Crugnale, Teen Challenge alumnus Becc Slavin, Teen Challenge WA executive director Malcolm Smith, and forum organisers Col Boyd and Ian Debenham at the first family solutions seminar about ice on Tuesday evening, February 2.

Crushing ice: from left, organiser Rick Olden, Latrobe Community Health liaison Wendy Gilbert, Bass Coast Shire Council mayor Cr Jordan Crugnale, Teen Challenge alumnus Becc Slavin, Teen Challenge WA executive director Malcolm Smith, and forum organisers Col Boyd and Ian Debenham at the first family solutions seminar about ice on Tuesday evening, February 2.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=17581

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