FebFast polls highly for National MP Jackie Blue

Press Release – New Zealand National Party

National Party MP Dr Jackie Blue will encourage her political colleagues to stop drinking alcohol for a month to raise money for young people struggling with alcohol or drug issues.
21 December 2011

FebFast polls highly for National MP Jackie Blue

National Party MP Dr Jackie Blue will encourage her political colleagues to stop drinking alcohol for a month to raise money for young people struggling with alcohol or drug issues.

Dr Blue is an ambassador for the New Zealand Drug Foundation’s FebFast fundraising event, which will take place in February 2012, and she’s urging people to sign up at www.febfast.org.nz.

“It’s a really good opportunity to reflect on our relationship with alcohol, how we drink and how often we drink,” she says.

“We’re so used to having a glass of beer or wine every night, or putting it in our trolley at the supermarket, along with the bread and milk. FebFast is a chance to step back and think about what we’re doing, and to help others who are struggling.”

FebFast challenges New Zealanders to give up drinking alcohol for a month in February 2012 to raise money via online sponsorship for youth charities around New Zealand.

Nearly a thousand people took part in the first FebFast in February 2011, which raised more than $100,000 for four community organisations. People can participate as individuals or in teams of friends, family, workmates and so on.

The recipient organisations for 2012 are:

Evolve, a free Wellington service for young people aged 10 to 25 years. Evolve provides a wide range of general health, primary care and social services to assist youth. The funding it receives from FebFast will support a new programme for brief interventions with young people around alcohol and drug use. You can read more about Evolve at www.evolveyouth.org.nz.

The ADHD Association, which educates, supports and advocates for people affected by ADHD. FebFast funding will support the development of a substance abuse educational resource for young people with ADHD. Research shows that this group are more prone to substance abuse. The DVD/study guide produced from FebFast funding will be a first in New Zealand for ADHD, and will be relevant to the many social agencies involved with this group. You can read more about the ADHD Association at www.adhd.org.nz.

Rainbow Youth, Auckland. Queer and Transgender youth are more likely to drink often and heavily, more likely to drink alone, and more likely to have had family or friends tell them to reduce their drinking. Rainbow Youth wants to change the way alcohol and drug use is viewed, and will use its FebFast funding to raise awareness of the issues, for example through the use of blogs on the www.curious.org.nz and the www.rainbowyouth.org.nz sites.

CareNZ, Waikato. Every year CareNZ helps more than 2700 people overcome addiction issues. FebFast funding will support an ongoing project that follows up focus group results collected from 14 schools. This will involve raising awareness of alcohol issues, the availability of help, and the need to diminish the harm caused by youth drinking in schools. You can read more about CareNZ at www.carenz.org.nz.

FebFast Coordinator Catherine Milburn says the event is all about participation, giving others a helping hand, and giving our bodies a break after the hectic festive season.

“It’s about having fun and taking a month off alcohol during February to create some space in our busy lives,” she says. “It’s fantastic having Jackie involved.”

Dr Blue was an ambassador for the first FebFast earlier this year and led a team of National MPs who raised $3470.00 through sponsorship and support.

“I attend a lot of functions in my role as an MP and many of these have alcohol available. I’m very aware of the need to look after my own health in these circumstances.

“That’s true of all of my parliamentary colleagues as well and I’ll be encouraging them to take part in FebFast. Quite a few of us participated last time and we all noticed the benefits in terms of feeling better and more alert.”

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