Meth addiction support group to meet formally

MAC Clutha facilitator Jean Proctor (centre) introduces Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan and Brave...
MAC Clutha facilitator Jean Proctor (centre) introduces Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan and Brave Hearts NZ methamphetamine family support organisation founder Erin O'Neill before the inaugural Brave Hearts Clutha workshop in Balclutha last month. PHOTO: JOHN COSGROVE
Following an exploratory launch before Christmas, a new South Otago support group for families of meth addicts will hold its first formal meeting on Wednesday.

Brave Hearts NZ founder Erin O’Neill visited the area in November for a series of meetings and workshops with families and support agencies, at the invitation of Methamphetamine Awareness Campaign Clutha (MAC Clutha).

Tauranga businesswoman Mrs O'Neill founded the family support organisation in 2016, following her son's long-standing meth addiction.

MAC Clutha facilitator Jean Proctor said nearly 40 affected family members and recovering relatives had attended the initial Brave Hearts Clutha meeting with Mrs O’Neill, and the group was now ready to formalise its activities with regular support meetings.

"The initial meeting was a very emotional occasion; but the overwhelming feeling by the end was one of hope.

"Brave Hearts opens the conversation within and between families, and between families and support agencies."

It was hoped a future programme of speakers and workshops would allow people to tackle the issue more effectively, Mrs Proctor said.

MAC Clutha — which works to create wider awareness of methamphetamine issues in the district — began as a Clutha Youth Council project, but had since grown to acquire a life of its own, she said.

The youth council would continue to place campaign activities high on its agenda this year.

"Final decisions lie with the youth council, but there are ideas around further awareness walks, educational and community activities centred on the district’s schools, and a return of Amped 4Life’s [drug education speaker] Pat Buckley."

Work on related initiatives would continue behind the scenes, Mrs Proctor said.

"I believe [Clutha is] leading the way in the South as an innovator in tackling these issues."

Others wishing to attend the Brave Hearts Clutha meeting at the Clutha District Council’s Balclutha offices at 7pm, Wednesday, January 22, should contact Mrs Proctor on (03) 419-0247.

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