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Press Statement, Charity Sponsorship utilised in Addiction Treatment
Thursday, 2nd October 2008  

The Drug Treatment Centre Board has undertaken a novel approach to enhance outcomes in addiction treatment using charity sponsorship as an incentive for clients. The report evaluating this pilot initiative stated that: "Addiction treatment is multifaceted. There is no one solution that works for everyone. There is a need to identify novel approaches that will improve outcomes in addiction disorders, universally recognised as being difficult to treat. Offering clients the option of earning money for their chosen charity by making progress in their treatment appears to be an effective incentive for many. We are unaware of this approach being used anywhere else in the world."

The Pilot initiative was undertaken in the Young Person's Program (YPP) at The Drug Treatment Centre Board over a twelve week period during the summer 2008. The YPP provides a treatment service for teenagers with very serious addictions, generally heroin dependence. Nine young people participated. Between them, they earned a total of 3115 Euro for a range of charities selected by themselves, including the ISPCC, The Jack & Jill Foundation & Temple Street Children's Hospital. They earned money for the charity through attendance at counselling sessions, demonstration of abstinence (confirmed by urinalysis) and the attainment of goals specific to their individualised care plan.
Mason Hayes+Curran, the leading business law firm kindly agreed to sponsor the YPP clients during this pilot.

A Consultant Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist working on the YPP, Dr Bobby Smyth said today: "This was a successful initiative. The clients seemed to get a lot out of it. We used a number of psychological measures to look at changes in their wellbeing during this pilot and we found improvement in all domains, especially in their self esteem. We also found reductions in drug use and successful detox completion. Clients obtained a deep satisfaction from the knowledge that their efforts in addressing their own addiction were going to have benefits for others through the charity sponsorship. It challenges the unfair stereotype that drug users are self centred or donít care about others".

Ann O'Driscoll a healthcare partner with Mason, Hayes+Curran said: "We are delighted to have supported this treatment initiative and appreciate the  many challenges in this type of intervention.  The initative is a great example of the positive impact of collaboration between healthcare providers and the professions while benefiting valuable charitable causes.  It is heartening to see evidence that teenage clients in the YPP were encouraged to make significant progress in tackling their addictions."

Dr Smyth went on to say: "We would now like to repeat this initiative on a larger scale and evaluate it more scientifically. We're optimistic that we will identify other partners in the commercial world, along with Mason Hayes+Curran, who are happy to channel money to charities via this route. We see it as a win-win situation for all."

For further information, contact DTCB at 01-6488677

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