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Report On Services Required For Adolescents With Drug-Related Problems

 Hayden Browne (1991)

  “… Those [young people] who reach the attention of drug and alcohol agencies, the criminal justice system or the welfare system, are not typical of all young people who have ever used, or who do occasionally use, illicit drugs. Rather, the evidence indicates that those drug users have generally experienced a far more disrupted family background and are finding the processes of adjustment to school, family, and other facets of life more difficult to accomplish than most other people of their age. 

… On the whole, their use of drugs is not the cause but more largely an effect of their distresses.

… young people who begin to use drugs heavily – as distinct from those who are tentatively experimenting with substances – do so largely to escape from subjective states which are intensely disagreeable to them, such as anger, frustration, loneliness, anxiety and depression.  Many are unemployed, poorly educated, estranged from their families or homeless. 

The challenge which presents itself to those agencies which are charged with the responsibility for improving the quality of life for such young people, is to alleviate those distresses which induce so many to use drugs. 

… illicit drug use may be for some the predominant concern, but it should not be seen or treated as the central, or solitary, issue.  Illicit drug use is neither the ultimate nor immediate cause of most of the distress among young people encountered by the welfare system; nor has it proven effective to mark drug use as the sole target for intervention in the lives of such young people, since at the same time they are often beset by problems of homelessness, hunger, unemployment, limited social and recreational opportunities, and by estrangement from their families, school and other facets of conventional society. 

Timely and practical assistance for young people, is an imperative necessity…” 

Hayden Brown (1991) Report On Services Required For Adolescents With Drug-Related Problems
Taskforce Community Involvement Centre, Melbourne.  (Pages lll – lV)

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