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I had nothing, and drugs don’t leave”: Young offenders’ perspectives on Alcohol and Other Drugs (AoD)

image - Emily Deans
Author: Emily Deans , Joseph Abdo

Resource Type: NDARC Seminars

Dr Emily Deans presented at the NDARC Webinar Series on Thursday, 16 March 2023.

This webinar looked at the contexts of young offenders’ alcohol and other drug use and the implications for harm reduction strategies. The importance of multi-level interventions that move beyond ‘victim blaming’ and ‘individual responsibility’ were discussed and the importance of including consumer perspectives in framing AoD discourses more broadly was explored. 

About the speakers

Emily’s experience lies within qualitative inquiry and her research focus is on understanding the environmental/structural influences on risk decisions and health behaviours. Over the last five years, Emily has worked in the not-for-profit sector to build the capacity of smaller community organisations to conduct research to inform service practice. Emily is passionate about using research as a medium to advocate for the needs of client groups, using focus groups and interviews as a platform to hear others’ perspectives and experiences. Emily is grateful to have learnt from population groups that have endured significant strains including young people in contact with the justice system and young people with significant and complex AoD / mental health needs. 

Emily was joined by Joseph Abdo, a mental health clinician at NEAMI National. Joseph comes from a social work background and is passionate about providing mental health support to various populations, including CALD and Arabic-speaking clients and communities. He enjoys working across the areas of practice, research, and policy to inform and influence better outcomes for families and individuals who require various support or who may feel stuck. Joseph’s experience and background span child protection, family therapy, alcohol, other drugs and gambling disorders, and eating disorders. He is knowledgeable and trained in the areas of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT), amongst other modalities that aid in the treatment of various mental health complexities. In addition, Joseph is a registered CAMS-care clinician with specialised training in addressing and treating suicidal ideation. Joseph also demonstrates rigorous background in alcohol and other drug research, working extensively with at-risk youth and is passionate about engaging and supporting young people and their families.