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Partnership helps young people overcome substance abuse

Young people will be given the tools to kick their substance abuse habits, thanks to a new intensive drug treatment programme announced yesterday.

Launched by Caron Bermuda and Bermuda Youth Counselling Services, the Adolescent Intensive Outpatient Programme (AIOP), provides young people aged 13 to 21 with individual and group counselling, educational and parent support to end the battle with drug use.

The individualised ten to 12-week programme is currently servicing six young people; in the future it may be able to accommodate up to 20 per cycle.

Youth and Families Minister Glenn Blakeney yesterday applauded the partnership and said it had the potential to “unlock new possibilities, increase shared knowledge and progress towards a more positive future for Bermuda’s youth”.

“The partnership is indeed committed to ensuring Bermuda’s youth are supported appropriately through the challenging times of adolescence. Our youth are preparing for an important journey adulthood.

“We believe this partnership can expand our collective organisational capacities and provide skills to affect social change. We are working at all levels to ensure a sustainable future for youth and families and this innovative programme is set to become an important tool to achieve just that objective.”

According to Errin Griffin, of Bermuda Youth Counselling Services, the young people currently taking part in the group are also undergoing art therapy that helps them express themselves creatively.

The adolescents are also given educational support on the effects of drugs and alcohol, she explained.

“The most important part of the programme, which we are very excited about and have worked very hard to incorporate, is the parent support. We think it is really important we support the parents of the adolescents going through this substance abuse.”

Programmes, which run twice a week from 2.30pm until 5.30pm, aim to help young people improve their communication, coping skills, anger management and teach them to identify dysfunctional coping skills that may have led them to drug use.

Counsellors get the young people to look at their short term goals and where they want to be in the future. They also develop an effective aftercare plan so the young people know where to turn and can avoid drifting back into their old bad habits, said Ms Griffin.

HSBC will serve as lead sponsor for the initiative over a three-year-period, said bank CEO Phil Butterfield. “We expect this programme led by trained professionals will contribute to positive outcomes for our youth. In fact all of us, regardless of age, need advice, road maps and counsel.

“I hope that this programme will allow our young people to have that road map for success. So often those who are in need of this kind of help do not realise their full potential.

“We believe they will now have that benefit through the necessary provision of guidance. It’s becoming increasingly evident we are seeing a coming together; agencies, alliances and collaboration seem to be the order of the day.”

HSBC CEO Phillip Butterfield speaks flanked by Gita Blakeney-Saltus regional vice president, Caron Bermuda at the announcement of the opening of an Adolescent Intensive Outpatient Programme (AIOP), by Caron Bermuda and Bermuda Youth Counselling Services (BYCS). (Photo by Mark Tatem)

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Published November 16, 2011 at 8:59 am (Updated November 16, 2011 at 8:59 am)

Partnership helps young people overcome substance abuse

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