Drug related deaths account for almost 25% of all deaths among young people, while drug and alcohol use can seriously exacerbate depression and suicidal behaviour.
With both parents working, Samantha spent much of her time unsupervised. At age 13 she collapsed at a party and was taken to hospital. After being resuscitated Samantha had little memory of the night before. A drug screen revealed the presence of alcohol and amphetamines and it was confirmed a sexual assault had occurred.
After being admitted to the Adolescent Ward, it emerged that Samantha had a history of sexual risk-taking and growing problems at school, which coincided with a relapse of her mother's bipolar disorder.
The Department of Adolescent Medicine at the Children's Hospital Westmead (CHW) was Australia’s first hospital based service for adolescents. It has outpatient and inpatient programs that manage a range of illnesses, a 20 bed ward and medical outreach services.
Dr Bronwyn Milne (centre) and Professor David Bennett (right) with members of the Department of Adolescent Medicine, CHW.