Australia: Confronting drugs

Many young Australians suffering from mental illness use illegal drugs to alleviate the effects of their illness. Jesuit Social Services (JSS www.jss.org.au) has been working for years with these young people who subsist at the margins of society. They have generally suffered abuse or neglect as children, and homelessness and prison as young adults, and have developed patterns of anti-social and self-destructive behaviour. The programme ?Connexions? reaches out to them using a multi-faceted and holistic approach which is described in an interesting new drug policy just published by JSS. Going beyond treatment alone, it aims to bring about changes in the criminal justice, prison and mental health systems; to support families and children in building better relationships; to provide training and employment opportunities; and through it all, to encourage the young people to develop deep bonds of trust. [HL00102]