Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of October 24, 2005
Crystal meth provides challenge for CSS
Sign of Hope out to launch program for addicted youth
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
Catholic Social Services is looking for $1.92 million in its 2005 Sign of Hope Campaign.
And if the agency exceeds this goal by $60,000 it will establish a new program - Genesis II - to provide support for youth dealing with crystal meth and other drug addictions.
The campaign was kicked off with a news conference and luncheon at St. Andrew's Centre Oct. 18.
"There is a huge need for a program like Genesis II," said Al Gordon, program manager of CSS's substance abuse and correction services. "I'm getting regular calls from parents whose kids are using crystal and other drugs. They just don't know where to go. They just need to be heard and they need to be supported."
Genesis II will be staffed with a professional addictions counsellor and will work with parents, providing them with strategies to deal with their addicted children and letting them know what resources are available in the community, Gordon said. "And if possible we'll work with their children, trying to get them into treatment."
Gordon said the new program would work with all its partners in the community, including AADAC. "And I believe that the more people in the community that work together, the better the success is going to be."
Megan Kompf, program manager for children and youth service with CSS, agrees the program is sorely needed. "The majority of our kids are drug involved and at this juncture crystal meth is their drug of choice," she said.
"I'm getting regular calls from parents reaching out trying to find resources for themselves but we are finding that we don't have the resources to meet their needs in terms of support. This new program will provide that support."
City lawyer Casey O'Byrne, chairperson of this year's Sign of Hope campaign, urged the community to support the campaign in order to get Genesis II off the ground.
"The cost to society for something like addiction to meth is hundreds of millions of dollars," he warned. "You get the loss of talented people to this drug; you get their movement to crime to support their habit and you get the destruction of the family unit.
"This is a serious problem. We have to do something about it and this is our chance to do it."
Sign of Hope, the second largest annual fundraising campaign in Edmonton, provides funding to more than 100 community-based programs serving more than 60,000 people of all faiths in Edmonton and northeast Alberta.