Matthew Herbet (left) started his recovery from drug addiction just over two weeks ago. He's already discovered
Matthew Herbet (left) started his recovery from drug addiction just over two weeks ago. He's already discovered "new and true friends" such as Paul Robinson (right) who has been at the Namatjira Haven Drug and Alcohol Healing Centre for four months. Cathryn Mclauchlan

A young man's recovery from drug addiction

AFTER eight years of drug addiction beginning at the age of 12, Matthew Herbert is 15 days into his rehabilitation for "himself, his family and his girlfriend".

Mr Herbert, 20, sought help at Namatjira Haven Drug and Alcohol Centre in order to beat his habit.

"About four years ago my addiction led me to ice ... and that's how long it took me to wake up to myself," he said.

Mr Herbert said he'd already made "true friends" at the centre.

"We actually find our true mates here because on the outside the people we were hanging with were all into drugs, and the only reason they hung with us is because we had them," he said.

Namatjira Haven Manager Dian Edwards said building a peer network was high on the centre's priority list.

"This is a place of peers, love and compassion ... we try and have a nice blend of ages so there's support in an 'uncle' capacity as well," she said.

There was an open day at the centre yesterday to reunite past residents and welcome family and friends.

The day was also used to dedicate a new building to be used for a music program.

"I wanted it to honour and dedicate Aunty Pam (Roberts)," Ms Edwards said.

"I knew Aunty Pam for the 16 years I've been here and I knew her as a really strong, loving support for Namatjira Haven and for me personally."

Team Leader Terry McGrath was himself a resident in 1986, but later came back to work and use his own experiences to help others.

He said the centre staff and residents were like his family.

"We are saddened when residents leave, but we're also very pleased they've gotten through a period of rejuvenation," he said.

Mr Herbert said he'd love to help others in similar situations in the future.

"A lot of the workers here are role models, we look up to them," he said.

"I want to try and become a rehab worker, try and help others who fall into my footsteps at a young age."

Mr Herbert said peer pressure was the primary reason he first started using drugs.

"Seeing everyone else who was doing it, I thought I wanted to be like them," he said.

"That first time I picked it up, that's what got me started ... it's real addictive."

Ms Edwards said she hoped to see a centre like Namatjira Haven available for Aboriginal women in the future.



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