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I'm just going to write something little...

I was in Birribi over a year ago now, and haven't touched any substances since. I am recovered and have found happiness. I have my life back and it's the best feeling in the world! 

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I fell across this website whilst looking up how to help young drug addicts escape that almost 'never ending spiral' that you seem to fall into once trying this life ruining drug. 

As a teenager it is normal to try things, I did drugs here and there nothing too serious knowing that I could control myself and pull back. It wasn't until I was around 15 that I stumbled across this drug many people know as ice. At this time in a life, my anxiety was driving me insane, I couldn't even leave my house without panicking, turning back, locking myself in my room and hiding from the world. I had just dropped out of school and was lost in a world where I didn't work; where I sat around and wallowed in my sorrows. I looked up online courses to begin, and I started at a college the next week hoping to I prove my anxiety, trying to push it under the carpet and pretend it wasn't there. I pushed a lot of people away in my life, but I met a girl at college that I felt I connected with on a level different to anyone ever before. We went on our lunch break, got in her car and she looked over at me and said, I hope you don't mind... I have to do something, I said no not at all! (At this time having no idea what she was talking about) she pulled out a glass pipe, and a jet lighter... Looked at me and said, I smoke ice.. I'm not addicted! I just need it now and then to wake myself up, is it okay if I smoke while you are here? I sat there in shock and replied ahh yeah I guess so... For the next few months, this girl and I spent endless amounts of time together, I adored her, I worried about her but I tried my hardest not to think about it, I would be around her and her friends smoking I as I sat there and ignored it.

One night we got back to her house late, I had been having anxiety attacks all night after driving to the city with her and two boys smoking and me just sitting and watching. We woke up in the morning - well I woke up, she had been awake - I was so tired and had college in an hour. I remember so clearly the sun shining in the room through the blinds in slated lines, she was sitting on the floor toking. I was in the bed, getting my thoughts together, she said you look tired go have a shower and relax babe, I went to have a shower and stood under the water just looking around thinking what are you doing... Get away from this, leave before you get too deep and it catches you. I walked back into the room soaking wet with the towel crying and I said give it to me. She was shocked but handed it to me, I smoked and smoked and smoked and smoked and finally let all the smoke out... I felt amazing, invincible, unstoppable... I got ready and we left for college. That whole day I didn't get anxiety, I was so happy and talkative and on top of the world (I thought). Lunch-time came, we sat in her car and smoked; months went by, years went by, and all of a sudden I found myself sitting in a drug house, 37 kilos, scabs covering me, looking up at the roof puffing my smoke into the air, with no feeling anymore to anyone or anything. My life had come to nothing and I knew this was going to soon be the end of me. For some reason I was okay knowing that I wouldn't be around too long. I was happy to know that I was in this spiralling addiction, I'd lost my family, my friends, even the girl I starting smoking with. No man wants a wreck of a person, a disgusting "junkie". I stopped college, I moved out of home. I wanted to go back to that day with the sun shining through the window and sitting in the bed, I wish I ran away. All of a sudden there was a bang at the door. The house was getting raided, everyone ran, hid, jumped fences. Normally I would of done the same, but for some reason my body just wouldn't let me. I looked at the bedroom door and everyone running down the corridor and I looked back at the roof, layed back and closed my eyes. I thought that was it. I don't remember what happened next, but what I do remember was waking up in a room, with a bed, sink, toilet, and hearing people talking faintly in the background... I sat up... I looked out the door and saw my mum standing there crying, my dad comforting her, social workers, and police... I tried to get up to see what was going on but I fell due to having cuffs on my ankles and hands. They all heard me fall and came running in, the police took the cuffs off and sat me in a room with my mum, dad, and two social workers. I looked down. My parents hadn't seen me in two months so to look them in the eyes would of killed me. The police said you are going to rehab, these people are going to take you. Say goodbye to your parents, you will be there for a while. I said I love you both so much and was escorted out the door and taken to my new home for the next two months, I didn't want to make a promise to my parents that day that their daughter would be back because I didn't know myself, I didn't think I would do it, or could do it. I was going in there and waiting for the first moment I got alone to find a way out of to end this all.

Rehab was okay, we would have daily meetings to talk about our feelings. For the first few weeks I wouldn't say anything, I would just listen. Listen to other sides of the story, listen to people's reasoning, listen to hopefully find someone that related to me.

I remember one night laying in my bed awake tossing and turning, the medication they had given me I hadn't taken, I left it under my tounge. I dreamt about my mums beautiful face saying monkey you have got this, you know who you really are and you know you can come back from anything, I love you so much. That next day was a new change for me, I spoke about my feelings, I ate my food, I worked out, I cut the negative thoughts out and got off the medication for good; they saw my changes. I was, am, and always will be thankful that I was able to get off. I came home, I had my mood swings and had a few months of ups and downs in regard to relapsing and nights out. Which needed to happen. I am now so proud to say that I am 4 months clean of methamphetemines; I don't do drugs anymore, I may drink now and then but avoid drugs in general. I did it for my family, my close friends and myself.

I want and would love to help people, God sent me a second Chance.

And if you really want it you will get a second chance too. Once I became clean, cold turkey, I got a quote tattooed just for myself to know that I'm done with that. I don't want to post it because people will know who I am and I'm trying to ride low and escape everyone's drama causing.

I want to help, so anyone needing it come to me, find contact with me, even if it's just for a day out, just to talk, anything, it's time for a change.

A new beginning, let's escape the ice age and conquer this life.

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Everyday I wake up to the sound of my dad either arguing with me or my younger brother, my mum is in denial about standing up for herself. 

When my Dad goes outside I scurry down to my mother and fathers bedroom to check on my mum and brother - they're normally happy. I always make jokes with father but according to my Mum he doesn't find what I say funny, he just yells or ignores me. I try and make him happy even though what I do is wrong.

My parents are quite wealthy even though my Mum is a stay at home Mum, but my Dad is a very hard worker and I think it gets to his head and stresses him out. I am very smart and I am only twelve and in year eight. I get high marks and my parents are both very proud of me.

I fight with my Mum over things caused by my Dad and I am sick of him belittling me - I said to him once I hate him and I felt so bad but I am only little so how do I stand up for myself? I put up with it and maybe one day it will change. Besides the fact he calls me a bitch and a liar I can see a good side and he was abused as a child so maybe that's where his temper comes from. I will put up with it because there is a heart of gold some where .

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Hey everyone, I'm going to remain anonymous. I am a previous and thankful client of YSAS.

I have had issues with alcohol and other drugs since I was about 13, first it started off with sneaking out my window to get drunk with older boys, or getting stoned on the oval at school.

This may have seemed like harmless fun but this quickly escalated into drug overdoses (GHB) while I had been out clubbing underage after being kicked out of home because of my drug use. I started taking ghb daily, even at school during class.

I had not 1 care in the world, I’d take anything and everything I could get my hands on, I had no comprehension of the danger I was putting myself in and what the repercussions could have been, after msny many nights spent sleeping on the streets of the city, couch surfing, crime, wagging school and being at the mercy of the people supplying my drugs, normally an older male I fell pregnant with my first child and disappeared from the drug scene and cleaned my act up.

The peak of my drug use occurred when child protection took my first child away because of my mental health issues due to being victim of domestic violence. I was also self-harming and drinking heavily. The only thing that had managed to keep me clean was being pregnant and having a child to care for so when she was torn away from me I reverted back to all I knew, this time even harder than before. I started using ICE daily and begun participating in paid sex work to support my habit.

All through this time I was a regular resident at YSAS. I knew it as my safe place. Still to this day I can’t put my finger on what it is, but there is such a warm and welcoming vibe about the residential unit that just makes you feel at home, I used to say “Honey, I’m home!” every time I entered back into the unit.

Even though every time I left the unit and told the workers I wouldn’t be back and the next time they would see me I’d be a youth worker like them & I had finally got my life together this time, Id still end up back, and every time I was still welcomed with open arms and smiling faces ready to help me all over again.

I never felt judged or looked down on while in YSAS, the staff were great at making you feel like an actual human being & saw you for who you are and the potential you had, the drug addiction was secondary.

The very last time I entered YSAS I was 20, pregnant with my second child, working as a sex worker, smoking ICE daily, didn’t have my first child in my care & had next to no support as I’d lost all my close friends and family because of my drug use. This was my rock bottom, and I knew what I needed to do. I needed to go to YSAS to get the help and support I needed to get clean. It wasn’t about only me this time, there was a precious little person growing inside of me.

My last detox was the hardest, I will never forget the pain both physically and mentally of an ICE detox while pregnant. It was defiantly challenging but I started noticing positive changes almost straight away.

The workers at YSAS were with me every step of the way & during my stay they helped me address all aspects of my life from my addiction, mental and general health, finances, legal matters and putting appropriate supports in place for when I exited the programe. At the start of my 14 day stay I was unable to see any positives in my life & had no sense of direction, by the end of my stay I left feeling optimistic & like I was ready to tackle whatever tried to throw my way. I left rested and CEAN!!!

I am now 21, thankfully clean and have a beautiful healthy son who lives with me fulltime and was never removed from my care as I was able to stay clean, my first child also returned home because I was clean. YSAS allowed me to discover my potential and identify my strengths and what I want to do with my life, which has lead to me spending the last year studying and FINALLY!!!!

becoming a fully qualified youth worker as well as Community services worker (Both cet 4).  I always told the workers I would be a youth worker, and they always believed in me even when I didn’t even believe in myself. And here I am, I did it! 6years later as promised id be a youth worker too, ready to start the rest of my life by helping people who are just like I was once. Ill never forget where I come from & will never be able to thank YSAS enough for being the only consistent thing in my life and helping me to get back up on my feet when I lost my way a little.

If you are struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, give YSAS a call, it’s the best thing I’ve ever done and it has completely changed my life, it might have taken me a few times to get it right but I got there in the end & it scares me to think where I could be now had I not accessed this service.

It might seem scary and put your anxiety through the roof but just do it, pick up the phone, ask for help. As soon as you ask for help people can start to help you & you can turn your life around and get back on track. If I can do it, anyone can.

 Every single day I am so thankful for the service YSAS provides. They have not only improved my quality of life by helping me, my children have been provided with a mum, my friends got the old me back and most importantly my family got me back, the real me. A big thankyou from not only me but other residents as well to the  amazing workers! We might have given you a hard time at some stages, or we may have clashed heads at one stage or another but I hope all the staff know how thankful each and everyone of us are. “see you on the flipside!!”

PS; if you get sick in the resi Haylee makes a mean lemon and honey tea that will make you feel instantly better ;)

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Hello, my name is Mitch and I am a recovering drug addict.

I first started smoking pot with mates just for fun. Laying there in a half built house in a new housing estate on a cold, windy, wintery Melboune night, pissing myself laughing. Life seemed good. Pot seemed good. What I didn’t know at the time was that that night would change my life forever. I would never reach that high again. I was 14, and I guess the depression I had been developing for a few years prior meant that smoking pot had a more lasting effect on me than my friends.

They were happy people & I guess I was too at the time. I had lots of mates, a girlfriend and was just generally enjoying life. I was pretty good at school too.

They used the same amount of the same poor quality pot that I did and were just as hysterical. "This is great" I thought, "I am going to do more of this more often".

Time passed & I kept using on weekends and I started wagging school to use too. After about a month of this my girlfriend left me. A few weeks later my 2 best mates got girlfriends (who they are still with today) who were also best friends. I started to feel like an outsider. "No worries" I thought, "I'll just get high". That attitude was silly and naive and just about the worst thing i could have done. Over the next few months, things began to change.

I was always getting high whenever we went anywhere, from mini golf to birthday parties and, as a result, I probably wasn’t great company. I wasn't social with strangers and made no real effort to make other friends.

It was at this point around 15 years of age that I realised I had a problem, but did I do anything about it? No. Looking back on it 5 years later I wish I had, as recovery would have been far easier and my life would be very different now. If you are at this point, get help now!

Eventually my friends stopped inviting me out so often and when they did I wouldn't attend. I was sick of being a 3rd or 5th wheel. On one occasion i was actually a 9th wheel when we went away for a weekend. Imagine how much I used then.

I should have told my friends of the issues I was having with them and the issues I was having with pot. But I didn’t, certainly not in a clear and honest way. I was ashamed to be depressed and ashamed to be a drug addict.

I dropped out of high school at the end of Year 10 to pursue my trade as mechanic. I worked with plenty of good blokes who I could easily have made friends with but again, I didn’t. I treated everyone with contempt and was just a real ass in general. I didn’t sit with them at smoko or lunch and I never saw any of them outside of 8&5. I was just a stoner who was set and comfortable being alone. I didn’t see friends as a necessity anymore as I was just comfortable getting high and playing my guitar alone. It remained this way for another 3 years.

Every day after work I would go home and out to my garage and get high. I would kick back, smoke a few joints and forget about life for a while. I would listen to the radio and just think about how miserable I was. During a particularly dark period, it seemed like every time I got home and went out there to get high a headspace radio advertisement would come on and I would think "Is it time i get help?” Eventually I thought, "Fuck this, pot isn't getting me high or making me feel any better anymore", so I either escalate or get help. I was at a fork in the road and, for once, I chose the right option.

I saw my options as:

A) Get help

B) Keep doing what I'm doing and hope for the best, or

C) Get on heroin and make everything much worse.

When I realised heroin had stared to creep into my mind I realised getting help soon was my only option or else I was just going to be this way and worse until I man up and accept and sort out my issues. The temptation of heroin was constant and powerful, regardless of how significant all of the consequences were. I rang headspace.

I waited approximately 2 weeks for my appointment and, in that time, I was freaking out.

"What if I can’t get clean?"

"What if they can't help?"

"What if there's nothing they can do?"

I was really scared to confront my issues and actually have to deal with them. Sitting in the waiting room, I was sweating profusely and felt like vomiting such were the nerves. Sitting there waiting for them to call my name was the hardest half hour of my life, prior to withdrawal.

I spoke to an intake worker and she set me up with a youth worker from YSAS, someone who would go on to have a profound impact on my life. I was reluctant to schedule regular appointments or share anything personal with her at first, but after several free lunches and appointments she gained my trust and my respect. I saw that as a massive step. She is one of best people I have ever met and my life is incalculably better thanks to her. After about 6 months of appointments I started trying to take small breaks from getting high: a day. Two days. A weekend. A week. Each time was hard but it also taught me a lot about myself and helped me to prepare for the big withdrawal that would ultimately come. Every time afterwards we would sit and discuss it and what I was thinking and feeling and every time she was proud of me, which for some reason meant a lot. She was also very patient with me and really understood how difficult it can be for an addict to stop using.

The longer the breaks I would take, the more I would learn about withdrawal and myself. Emotions and feelings would come to the surface and, because she had gained my trust, I shared with her the issues I had with my friends (who by this point were well and truly out of the picture) and my father (who abandoned my family when I was pretty young). I also shared with her my thoughts of heroin, self harm and suicide and every time she made me feel comfortable and helped me to deal with these emotions in a healthy way.

Eventually, after about 9 months on from my first YSAS appointment I had my first real crack at long term abstinence from pot, and there can be no doubt it was the hardest thing I have ever done. I took a month off work to give me time and space and began my withdrawal.

From sweat, to nausea, to no sleep to the crazy dreams I had when I did sleep, I went through it all. There were times when I searched my apartment top to bottom looking for anything to get me high. A crumb, a butt of an old joint - I just needed something. But eventually I ran out of stuff to find, so I stopped looking.

The support from YSAS at this point was crucial. I would call the youth worker on a near daily basis at times freaking out about everything but she always kept a cool head and was able to keep me focused on my long term goals. Six months on from that big withdrawal, I can’t help but look back on my life and the things I would do differently. Why didn’t I tell my friends of the issues I was having? Why didn’t I get help sooner? Why did I start using in the first place?

I lapsed a few times along the way, and my life is far from perfect now but for the first time in a long time there is hope of a normal life in the future. I'm 20 now and I begin real counselling in the next few weeks to confront my depression which is the next big step for me. It is just as intimidating as the first YSAS appointment was, but I will push through and keep trying for a normal life, and its all thanks to a youth worker from YSAS.


YSAS Adventure programs are designed to help young people learn all the necessary skills for the real world through planning and participating in adventure activities. 

Young people can learn how to get through challenging situations, take control of their lives and reach their goals.

If you are interested in finding out more about the adventure programs contact the Dandenong Day program on 9701 3488.

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I started using wen I was 15, it started as an on the weekend with friends thing just for fun you know. I travelled through school just as a bit of a quiet kid, when I felt anxiety although I didn't know wat it was at the time, I would hide it by acting a fool just being a clown.

I went along using on the wkend until probs bout 17 by then id tried smoking smack, choof, pills. You see I come from an area in geelong which I will not name that is notorious for drug use and violence.

For a long time I looked at it as the norm my mindset was "im a drug user and this is who I will always be" in my time on the scene I was unfortunate enough to see friends go off the rails, some went psychotic and others went to jail, my father banged speed from when I was a young age and is currently a shard head. but that's another story, I guess i'm trying to build an image of my background.

Anyways the results of using drugs from 15-24 go like this. I stuffed my schooling, jobs family relationships, friendships,my own record with thefts, assaults, restraining orders etc. I became homeless by 21 and it still didn't get me to straighten up I spent two years thieving whatever I could to get on it, I spent multiple times a week in the cop shop and frankly lost a lot of my self respect and respect of those around me. I kept in contact with headspace from about 2009 and an AOD worker continued to support and educate me about my experiences and inspired me to read and educate myself on being more self aware and not letting that situation define me. 

When I say homeless I mean homeless, not couch surfing, the parts u don't hear bout homelessness is this: not showering sucks, not changing ur clothes for sometimes weeks sucks, and the dignity it takes from an individual can never be comprehended unless u live that. 

I went to the Geelong Withdrawel Unit in October 2012 I was anxious but I went just for a break, was my thought process. heres the big part ONCE I WAS CLEAN I REALISED ID WASTED 9 YEARS OF MY LIFE THAT I WILL NEVER GET BACK. sure there are fun times with the boys doing this or that but on your resume its no qualification and I barely remember all the times anyways, not to mention I only have a year 9 education at 24. im 26 now ive gone back to school and am currently studying to become a AOD worker

My advice to anyone is that even if u try to kick whatever your vice is, don't be hard on urself and give up just forgive urself and keep pushing towards whatever your goals are cause we only fail when we give up. 

p.s ive been clean since October 2012 and sitting here 31/5/2014 its an accomplishment I hold close to my heart. I hope I can in some way give back to the community I took a lot from over the years and to those I robbed or wronged I wish u all the best in ur lives

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Project date May 14, 2014

Lead agent: YSAS
Partners: Youth research Centre, Centre for Multicultural Youth
Funding body: YSAS

YSAS conducted a project that resulted in a clear articulation of the service model employed by the YSAS Sudanese assertive outreach initiative combined with an investigation of its effectiveness.

The final report documents the projects findings and outlines recommendations regarding enhancement of service provision for this target group and for how YSAS might formalise an approach to engaging emerging refugee communities in the future.

The final report describes:
  • The needs and characteristics of the client group who are currently African young men, mainly from refugee backgrounds
  • The reach of the program
  • How those in the target group use assertive outreach, other YSAS services and the broader service system
  • The impacts and outcomes expected from engagement with assertive outreach and YSAS more generally
  • Interviews with young people who are clients and key stakeholders held to gauge the effectiveness of the program.

Download report here

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Date Posted May 14, 2014

Monographs and Reports


This snapshot provides an overview of an assertive outreach initiative YSAS established to engage and assist African-born young people experiencing serious substance use related problems. It includes an overview of the initiative and its participants, the key findings and outlines recommendations regarding the enhancement of service provision for this target group as well as implications for engaging emerging refugee communities in the future.

Download report here

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Media Release 06th of May, Melbourne, 2014

 YSAS welcomes ongoing investment in the Youth Support Service 

The Youth Support + Advocacy Service (YSAS) today welcomed the announcement of ongoing funding of Victoria’s successful youth diversion initiative, the Youth Support Service, which is provided by YSAS in metropolitan Melbourne and the Latrobe Valley. 

Minister for Community Services Mary Wooldridge today confirmed funding of $17.1 million for the continuation of the Youth Support Service. 

“The Youth Support Service, in partnership with the Department of Human Services and Victoria Police, has successfully prevented thousands of young people from entering the criminal justice system, " said Paul Bird, CEO of YSAS. 

"Engaging experienced youth workers with young people when they first commit an offence or are cautioned works. 89 per cent of young people who completed the service provided by YSAS had not further contact with police. "

"The Victorian Government’s investment in diversion and the Youth Support Service will continue to have a proven impact on reducing youth crime, keeping young people out of the criminal justice system and providing support at the earliest point of contact with the law." 

The Youth Support Service is the only early intervention service of its kind in the state, working with young people aged 10 -17 referred to the service by Victoria Police to address the underlying drivers of offending behaviour

Recent YSAS research revealed: 

  • 89%i of young people who completed the Youth Support Service provided by YSAS did not enter the criminal justice system. They had no further, or only positive, contact with police. 
  • 55%ii of young people experienced family conflict ‘very often’ prior to accessing the Youth Support Service. This was significantly reduced to 18% by the end of service involvement. 
  • Young people engaged in education, employment or training increased from 38% to 78%iii at service completion. 

“Youth diversion services set young people up for life, not a life of crime. Young people and their families are connected with services to meet their individual needs and are provided the opportunity to contribute to the community through education and employment. "

“The Government’s investment today will allow YSAS and other Youth Support Service providers to continue to provide this opportunity to young people sustainably into the future.” 

For further information on the Youth Support Service, visit 



Note to editors 
A full report on outcomes of the Youth Support Service provided by YSAS is available on request. To arrange an interview with Paul Bird, CEO of YSAS, please contact: 

Josh Comer
Marketing Manager
tel +61 3 8412 8522

3,952 young people have been referred to the YSAS Youth Support Service28 April 2011 – 20 February 2014. YSAS provides a central intake function for metropolitan Melbourne with referrals for Moonee Valley, Maribyrnong and Hobsons Bay being triaged to the 20th Man Fund per contractual obligations with Department of Human Services. The Youth Support Service is funded by Department of Human Services as part of the Government’s Youth Crime Initiative. 


The Youth Support + Advocacy Service (YSAS) is a leading youth health agency that enables highly vulnerable young people with substance dependence and misuse issues, mental illness and social disconnection, to take control of their health and wellbeing. 

For further information visit
or contact the confidential 24 hour free YoDAA line: 1800 458 685. 


i History of contact with police 2 months post closure – n =141 young people 
ii History of family conflict 6 months before and at end of service involvement – n= 301 young people 
​iii History of education and employment 6 months before and at end of service involvement – n= 301 young people 


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