Few users seek alternatives to highs

Southern youth are coping ''surprising well'' with psychoactive substance withdrawal and are not seeking alternative highs.

Deb Fraser, director of Whakaata Tohu Tohu/Mirror Services, which is run by the Aroha Ki Te Tamariki Trust, said the trust started a new service in March after securing about $750,000 from the Government.

The new contract was designed to improve access to services for 12 to 22-year-olds in Otago and Southland with alcohol, drug and mental health problems, Ms Fraser said.

The new service, named in the interim the Mirror Youth Exemplar Service, was easily accessible, highly mobile and provided a multidisciplinary team, including a psychiatrist, psychologist and a family therapist.

The service included school-based interventions for youth whose family had addiction issues.

Ms Fraser said the contract was ''timely'', after interim approvals for all psychoactive substances were revoked at 12.01am last Thursday.

That effectively made the use, sale and manufacture of the products illegal.

Clinical team leader Tangi Noomotu said the psychoactive substance users who had used the service after the ban, many of whom were highly dependent, were coping ''surprisingly well'' with withdrawal.

Many users were opportunistic and used a psychoactive substance only because it was readily available, he said.

The sourcing of illegal drugs took time and many people could not be bothered with the search.

''Some people just stop - they don't have much motivation to go and seek those drugs.''


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