For some young people, substance use is an effective means of coping with (or temporarily escaping from) other life stressors such as family conflict, trouble at school, unstable housing and abusive relationships.
For these young people it is impossible to address substance use without taking steps towards changing the underlying reason for using.
Likewise, young people with troubled home lives or unstable housing often lack some of the resources that make it easy to engage with weekly drug and alcohol counselling, e-support or group sessions.
Treatment options that require being driven to an appointment or expensive resources such as a computer, may be unrealistic for a young person who is struggling to have their basic needs met.
Outreach support is a treatment option whereby trained Youth AOD Outreach Workers will meet up with a young person 1:1 in their home, where they hang out or any other place they feel comfortable.
Outreach support is a great option for students who require a more ‘wrap around service’ that helps them deal with their substance use issues in the context of other life issues.
It is best suited to young people with high or severe substance use combined with social factors that put them more at risk of exploitation and getting into dangerous situations.
Outreach is extremely flexible and holistic – there is no set program. Workers do not limit themselves to just providing Drug and Alcohol counselling – although this is a part of it – but rather aim to understand the things that influence a young person’s drug and alcohol use and help them make changes to those parts of their life.
Examples of this could be supporting them to move out of unsafe housing, attend a health clinic, learn life skills such as budgeting or practical assistance to attend school.
Youth AOD workers will also be doing everything they can to allow a young person to feel safe, to talk honestly about their substance use.