If turnout reflects concern, then our community is clearly uneasy about the place that drugs and alcohol have in our lives, as twenty people turned up to meet with Joy and Mike from CAYAD, Community Action on Youth and Drugs on the morning of Friday the 23rd of March.

Coming from schools, health and social agencies, as well as other groups, or themselves returning from difficult times with drugs and alcohol, participants shared real stories about real people.

As a reason for their concern, explanations ranged from ‘wanting to support others,’ ‘protecting our whanau’ and ‘increasing well being in the community.’ This can be challenging because of ‘peer pressure’, ‘poor role models’ and ‘lack of alternative venues’. But opportunities also existed, thanks to ‘caring people’, ‘a sense of belonging’, and ‘positive role models’.

There was agreement that there should be more events and meeting places which were entertaining and worthwhile without alcohol; to encourage change of attitudes to ‘break the cycle’, and that young people should be provided with more positive influences.

By the end, there was a real sense at that meeting that we can tackle this problem as a community and that we’re in a unique position to do so because of the strength of our community. ‘It was a really energising and heartening meeting – not a whingeing or finger-pointing one.’

Do you share our concerns? Then come and join us, for the next session at the Art Gallery, Friday 27 April 10-12.


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