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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 June, 2005, 05:48 GMT 06:48 UK
'Cash plea' over substance abuse
Children suffering from substance abuse respond well to counselling
Children suffering from substance abuse respond well to counselling
The government has been urged to provide more funding to help set up projects for young people suffering as a result of substance misuse.

The Chill Project - which supports those with drug or solvent issues - has published a report on its work.

It said there was a vast improvement in the behaviour of those who receive counselling and mentoring, but more research into such services was needed.

The Chill project is the only model of its kind in NI for those under 18.

The research recommended that additional funding should be made available to expand the project throughout Northern Ireland. It currently operates in Strabane, Limavady and Belfast.

The research was led by Contact Youth and Opportunity Youth, and supported by the Northern Ireland Drugs and Alcohol strategy.

Anne-Marie McClure, Chief Executive of Opportunity Youth, said it was a very valuable piece of research.

If we do not ensure that appropriate counselling, mentoring and support and services are available to those in need, we risk allowing them to slip through the net and become forgotten in society.
Norma Patterson
Contact Youth

"The findings demonstrate the need for adolescent specific services to support the most vulnerable young people in our society," she said.

The research has indicated that those who availed of Chill's service had reduced anxiety levels, improved attendance and behaviours at school, dramatically reduced their alcohol intake and reduced their levels of aggression and violence.

The study also revealed that the overall health of participants in the Chill project improved.

It recommended that the Chill project should be part of a wider Northern Ireland strategy for young people under 18 integrated with children's services planning.

'Critical services'

Norma Patterson, Director of Contact Youth, said his organisation wanted to see the service expanded into every post-primary school in Northern Ireland.

"We call upon the Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety, Shaun Woodward, and the Minister for Education, Angela Smith, to ensure that proper funding is in place to support the development of critical services such as these," he said.

"Our young people are our future; if we do not ensure that appropriate counselling, mentoring and support and services are available to those in need, we risk allowing them to slip through the net and become forgotten in society.

"We cannot afford to allow this to happen."




SEE ALSO:
Calls to tighten solvent rules
28 Nov 02 |  Scotland


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