“I don’t want to go back down that road. It’s very dark, very messy, and very lonely in spite of the fact it feels so loving, and so nice, and so social at the time.”…
“I didn’t have a clue that I had a problem. ‘No way, I haven’t got a problem’.”…
“It's a complete love relationship. That's what makes it so powerful, so destructive for me. Because that becomes more important than my relationship.”
“I tried everything to convince myself that my using was sweet. Yet every day, I had proof that things were really f****d up.”
These are just some of the thoughts shared by people featured on two new drug websites launched today as part of a government programme to reduce the demand for drugs.
The DrugHelp.org.nz and MethHelp.org.nz websites – produced by the Drug Foundation and funded by the Ministry of Health – are part of a $1m, three-year project to show people struggling with drug abuse ways they can get help for their addiction.
The websites feature compelling stories from people about the highs and lows of their drug use and their journey through drug treatment. People featured on the websites range from gang members to professionals, and include parents and partners of people who use drugs.
Drug Foundation Executive Director Ross Bell says the websites’ aim is to make things a little easier for people addicted to drugs to find potential pathways into treatment.
“Those struggling with drug addiction are often caught in a spiral. They want to change but a life without drugs is unimaginable and they see nothing but barriers between themselves and help. The stories on these websites show people that others have been where they are and that change is possible.”
He says the websites are deliberately not preachy or designed to scare people off drugs, but that it is hard to argue with the videos which are raw, authentic and uncensored.
“Many of the subjects talk about how drugs gradually took control and how their lives and relationships disintegrated as a result. It’s stuff many people who use drugs will identify with, so we also try and give them information they can relate to about where to get help and what life is like in recovery.”
As well as the videos, both websites contain information about what treatment options are available and how to access them. An online tool allows visitors to assess their own dependence on drugs. Practical advice is also provided about things like dealing with withdrawal and how to make the changes needed to live a life free of drugs.
The MethHelp.org.nz website, commissioned as part of the Government’s Methamphetamine Action Plan, offers a free Guide for Change booklet and DVD, which can be ordered directly from the website and which includes basic information about how to make a start seeking help.
Testing of the websites with the target audience received very strong and positive feedback. People who use drugs and people in recovery told the Drug Foundation they thought the stories were genuine, the messages were credible, and the websites were engaging.
Ross Bell says the new resources are important drug demand reduction tools as they specifically focus on New Zealand’s drug problem from a health perspective.
The websites were developed under the guidance of an advisory group of professionals from the alcohol and other drug sector, including the Alcohol Advisory Council, Matua Raki, Community Alcohol and Drug Services Auckland, the National Committee for Addiction Treatment (NCAT), Alcohol Drug Helpline, Community Action on Youth and Drugs and the Ministry of Health. The websites were designed and built by Origin Design and Signify Ltd.
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