To give addict help to Alberta youth, the Canadian Government has recently allocated around $6.5 million to assist Alberta Health Services to provide to young people early intervention drug services.
The In Roads project is intended to provide addicts help to overcome drug addiction and related problems.
Upon examination the direction of this funding is not towards youth at all – but to empowerment of youth services.
The funding is intended to be used by youth drug addiction agencies in Alberta to enhance their competency.
The funding is made to build internal capacity and increase the provision and development of drug use related services. The funding is intended to increase youth access to these government funded drug addiction services.
Anyone can, with adequate funding, enable better access to the services that they provide. Paying for bricks and mortar locations and advertising can get anyone in through the door.
The question which needs to be answered is whether or not any of this funding will actually provide addict help or really benefit youth. Will this funding prevent and reduce the incidence and harm of drug use by young people.
Given that the funding is intended to fund and develop existing drug use services – the answer would seem to be NO!
One would think that an early intervention drug service for youth would prioritize prevention. That step seems to have been overlooked in the need to provide more and more accessible services for those who have already become the victims of drug use. You would think that to assist young people best the funding for drug addiction services would focus upon the need to empower youth – not to empower drug services.
Surely it is the internal capacity of youth which needs to be strengthened against the stresses in their lives – rather than the internal capacity of drug services organizations, if any real progress is to be made in eradicating drug use.People with financial control over money and where it might best be spent need to ensure that safeguards are in place. Where the proper interest of youth is concerned – does this package not put the cart before the horse.
It would appear that all of the funding will go towards empire building in one form or another. Whilst youth will have better access to drug services, such as they are, drug use will simply keep increasing. Youth will be no better off. Having a better capacity for program delivery would be fine for youth if there was any evidence to suggest that the delivered programs are in fact a success.
While drug treatment programs continue to regard drug addiction as a disease that can only be “cured” by medication, and continued behavioral counseling, it is very much like a mother who has such a need to tend to their child that they cannot bear to let it grow up, attain emotional maturity – and lead a life of its own.
Clingy, needy and greedy – government supported youth drug services have a vested self interest in not letting their children go. Youth seeking addict help really needs to consider – is there ever a “free” lunch.
Holistic centers for drug detox and rehab have proven results – being unfunded, generally you have to pay. Better to pay and to get results than to rely on funded schemes – whose criteria for success are in demonstrating a continuing and increasing need – for yet another government grant.