Addiction Support for Youth

EaseUp, a pilot programme that supports young people experiencing alcohol and drug issues in the Tāmaki region, was launched in 2019.

The community-based Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) service has been self-funded by the Emerge Aotearoa Trust to provide assistance to those aged between 13 and 20.

The two-year pilot focuses on assertive outreach, early intervention and whānau involvement. Clinicians and peer support specialists (who have lived experience of overcoming AOD challenges and have had specialist training), work with each young person to tailor goals based on their individual needs.

Introductions to the service are made through self-referrals, schools, maraes, community policing, youth justice, Oranga Tamariki, church leaders and sports coaches.

Emerge Aotearoa Trust Group Chief Executive Barbara Disley says EaseUp improves the chances of rangatahi getting the support they need to turn their lives around. "Involving whānau in the process, gives each young person a chance to build support in a safe and impactful way," she says.

The programme operates as a clinician and peer support partnership community service in the Tāmaki district, between the hours of 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday. There is also flexibility for kaimahi to work outside of these hours for pre-planned appointments.

Whānau is at the heart of each person's support, with rangatahi being asked to define what the word means to them. This gives each young person a chance to build support in a safe and meaningful way.