The Bay of Plenty's largest youth drugs service has seen no rise in referrals for methamphetamine use in recent months.
Sorted, the Bay of Plenty District Health Board's youth alcohol and other drugs service, says less than 10 of the 230-250 referrals it receives a year would have used methamphetamine.
Registered social worker Caleb Putt says they have observed little change in the reasons why young people are referred to the service, with this primarily being due to cannabis and/or alcohol use.
“Anecdotally, there has been little evidence of any change to young people's patterns of use in the community as we interact with our key referring services, such as Youth Justice, Police Youth Aid, hospital emergency departments, secondary schools and alternative education providers.
“Typically there would be less than 10 young people a year referred to Sorted who have ever tried methamphetamine, and only two or three a year for whom methamphetamine is their substance of choice – or at least are meeting criteria for problematic use of this substance.”
Sorted, which is based within the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service and works primarily with young people aged 18 and under, emphasises youth friendliness, accessibility and maintaining a focus on engagement in delivering its service.
This is regardless of what substance a young person is using, as most young people are sceptical and often reluctant about wanting to engage with an AOD service, explains Caleb.
“Confidentiality, flexibility, in terms of where young people are seen, and emphasising harm reduction and safety messages are all important aspects of service delivery, with any hint of judgement or talk of abstinence likely to disengage most young people.
“Young people who are thinking about using or who are using methamphetamine will get this same quality of service as any other young person.”
Sorted not only works with young people referred due to AOD, use but also with youth experiencing mental health difficulties as well as AOD problems.
Other Youth AOD services available to young people in the Bay include Get Smart, Te Manu Toroa, Nga Kakano Foundation, Ngaiterangi Iwi Trust and Maketu Hauora, Tuhoe Hauora, Tuwharetoa Ki Kawerau, Te Whanau Apanui and Emerge Aotearoa.