The Dunlea Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Casework Program provides essential support and evidence-based interventions to help young people and their families work towards an addiction-free future. The Western Sydney Primary Health Network commissions Dunlea to ensure that the root causes of addiction are addressed, and young people receive wraparound care. Each young person is supported by an AOD Case Worker, AOD Family Case Worker and AOD Counsellor who guide them through trauma-informed, individualised pathways of care.


Pari* was 18 years old and living in crisis accommodation when she first engaged with the Dunlea AOD Casework Program. Pari had been using marijuana, alcohol and nicotine as escapism from her past and was also managing a diagnosed mental health condition. Her history of alcohol and drug misuse stemmed from witnessing misuse by her parents. This turbulent relationship meant that Pari did not want her family to know her location.


Working collaboratively with homelessness and youth work services, Dunlea AOD Casework has provided person-centred care to Pari focused on harm reduction and social engagement. This has included support from Dunlea counsellors, caseworkers, and youth workers to help Pari engage in programs that help her build and maintain positive connections.


The lack of family and community support growing up had made it hard for Pari to form, trust and maintain new relationships, and she constantly pushed peers and support workers away through arguments and self-sabotaging behaviours. Each time Pari experienced a relationship breakdown, she would relapse into AOD misuse.


Since starting at Dunlea, Pari has begun to identify self-sabotaging behaviours in herself and address these issues through programs such as YOLO. YOLO is a daily living skills program run through Youth Off the Streets which provides information and support on everyday topics such as sexual health, legal rights and responsibilities, drugs and alcohol, and engagement and support. Pari has consistently engaged in Dunlea’s services, and her misuse has significantly reduced due to her new social groups and activities. During the week, she now regularly and independently schedules lunches and catchups with her new friends.


Pari is currently in transitional housing and is being supported to find secure accommodation. Pari has also enrolled in TAFE, where she is studying a course in social work. Her ambition is to help other young people like herself by becoming a Youth Worker.


*Name has been changed to protect the identity of this client

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