7 Feb 2017

Gang-run rehab's funding axed

9:17 pm on 7 February 2017

A former P addict is calling on the Ministry of Health to reconsider its decision to stop funding a successful rehabilitation programme.

The Hauora Programme was developed by the Salvation Army and the Notorious chapter of the Mongrel Mob.

The programme has been going for eight years and has run more than 10 camps based around the philosophy of holistic health.

The Ministry said it cut the funding because the programme targets only a small number of people and it wants to focus on schemes that help larger groups.

Donna, who completed the programme with her partner, said involving whānau in rehabilitation was a huge part of the programme's success.

She said she tried other courses but always had to find childcare for her five children, which was too difficult.

"We had five children, so when we went into mainstream programmes, they didn't allow kids. The fortunate thing about this programme was that we were able to bring all of our kids onto the programme."

Donna said she found The Hauora Programme better than other rehabilitation services she had tried.

"We had tried several times before, but doing it as a family and you see your kids there participating with you, and given tools and stuff as a whānau just made us appreciate one and other - as a person, as a whānau, and appreciate life in general."

Lynette Hutson, National Director for Salvation Army Addiction Services, said being able to complete the programme with the support of their whānau meant that the motivation for change was spread through the family. It also meant the key messages were spread further than the individual participants trying to get help for their addiction.

"The wider reach of the programme makes it very cost-effective. You've got a ripple effect of change and it takes quite a long time to unfold so I challenge the cost factor being ineffective for a small group of people.

"This is something we strongly believe in and we are involved in drug and alcohol treatment across the country in all forms and feel this is one of the very effective things that we do."

Ms Hutton said an independent review conducted by the Ministry of Health found that as a result of participation in the Hauora Programme methamphetamine and other drug and alcohol use had dropped, serious offending had decreased, as had notifications to Child, Youth and Family services (CYFs).

Donna said the 50 people on the waiting list to join the rehabilitation programme are desperate to come off P and the Hauora Programme could help them. She would like for the Ministry to reconsider its decision to cut the programme's funding.

"We already know there is a huge waiting list of whānau waiting to do the programme and while they wait, there is still people dying. Families getting sick, families going to jail, families going to CYFs."

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