THE message from Steve Morris and Jeff Amatta during their recent visit to Bulahdelah Central School (BCS) was loud and clear; make healthy lifestyle choices and get the best education that you can.
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The two Indigenous men, who founded Brothers 4 Recovery 12 months ago, have both been victims of addiction and are now on a mission to promote drug and alcohol awareness as far and wide as possible.
Speaking openly about their own painful experiences to students and staff at BCS, Steve and Jeff addressed issues relating to drug and alcohol abuse, mental health, anger management and lifestyle choices.
The Brothers hope to create a “positive ripple effect” within each community they visit, helping to combat the rising rates of addiction.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s 2016 drug and alcohol survey shows 43 percent of Australians over the age of 14 had used an illicit drug in their lifetime, reflecting a gradual increase over the last decade.
In the MidCoast region, incidents of possession and use of amphetamines have risen by more than 16 percent during the past five years, according to the latest report from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research.
The report also reveals the region was ranked 19 out of 120 Local Government Areas for cannabis related incidents in 2017.
Jeff and Steve stressed the importance of openly talking about the topic of addiction to help make a positive change.
“Starting that conversation around substance abuse is the key,” Jeff said.
“It is easier to guide, mentor and educate teenagers than it is to fix broken adults.”
Brothers 4 Recovery, a not-for-profit organisation, have delivered their message to more than 45 NSW communities during the past 12 months.