A NEW line of work has shown long-term Roma community member Glenn Telford a world of drug abuse he didn’t know existed.
The Anglicare community learning co-ordinator said he was surprised by the extent of methamphetamine use among the young people with whom he worked.
He took on the role four weeks ago which is based around finding work for 15-24 year olds who are seriously disengaged from the community.
He came to the post after 28 years as a high school teacher and a stint as co-ordinator of a green army program.
“I’ve certainly been surprised by the amount of drugs other than marijuana these people are on,” Mr Telford said.
He said drug use was by far the biggest impediment to getting his clients into work.
“A lot of them are not lacking in intelligence and not lacking motivation.
“You just never know when they are not going to be employable the next morning.”
A young man among the 33 people on the program has spoken to him of methamphetamine debts.
“He admits to owing about $600 for drugs.”
The youth’s problems are made worse because he has no home and no income.
“The kids who are getting to the bottom of that slope are 15 or 16 years old with no homes and no money.”
Mr Telford said the task of keeping youths off drugs and in work could prove difficult.
“At the same time, if you look like having a bit of success, it is really satisfying.”