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Are we doing enough for young people with drug and alcohol addiction?

New Evolve 2020 research report reveals high demand and widespread unmet need for youth drug and alcohol services.

A new report by Sir David Martin Foundation reveals high demand and widespread unmet need for treatment services and support for young Australians with drug and alcohol addiction.

‘Evolve 2020: Are we doing enough for young people with drug and alcohol addiction?’ makes seven key recommendations calling for a nationwide expansion of youth-specific services to prevent vulnerable young people being caught in a lifelong cycle of addiction. The report shows that almost 40% (76,000) of all those requesting help for drug and alcohol addiction in Australia each year are under the age of 30. However, a lack of youth specific treatment options leaves many of these young people in adult programs not tailored to their needs.

“Young people have the strongest recovery rate of any age group if given the opportunity,” explained Sir David Martin Foundation General Manager, Helen Connealy. “But their needs are different and varied than other stages of life. Many have suffered trauma, mental illness or suffered domestic violence. Family is so important in their recovery but not always available. Often these young people haven’t had the space to grow up and mature in the traditional sense.”

Helping young people in crisis for 30 years

As the primary funder of Mission Australia’s Triple Care Farm, a best practice, holistic treatment centre for young people affected by drug and alcohol issues, Sir David Martin Foundation helps to provide a safe place for young people to recover. Over 3,000 young people’s lives have been saved, with 200 students each year now supported through the program’s Rehabilitation, Withdrawal and Aftercare components.

“This report (which is the first of its kind in Australia) shows that although there is good work happening, collaboratively the sector needs to do more if we are to reach more young people.” – Evolve 2020

A lack of adequate rural and regional treatment options was a key finding of the research.

“The report found that young people living in rural and regional areas in all Australian states and territories are more likely to experience disadvantage, engage in harmful substance use and have poorer access to essential programs. Yet almost 60% of treatment agencies are located in major cities and only 6% in remote or very remote areas.

Find out more…

Read the media release

Download a copy of the full report, ‘Evolve 2020: Are we doing enough for young people with drug and alcohol addiction?