Recognition for drug and alcohol harm reduction

HONOUR: Chris Clark has become a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the King's Birthday Honours.
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Ashburton Community Alcohol and Drug Services chief executive Chris Clark has been recognised for services to alcohol and drug harm reduction in the King’s Birthday Honours.

‘‘Pretty overwhelmed, it’s sinking in,’’ said Clark on Tuesday as she returned to work after the long weekend.

She had received many congratulatory messages after being named a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit .

Clark was a founding board member of ACADS in the 1980s, before being employed in the roles of health promoter, service manager, and chief executive until the present.

As the chief executive, she has driven the growth and development of ACADS to become a well-respected service within Mid Canterbury and nationwide.

She has built a strong network over 35 years of regional and national contacts, working on alcohol harm reduction, service improvements, professional development and policy. This knowledge has been implemented locally, with a strong commitment to working alongside the community, from volunteers developing alcohol management plans for events, sustaining the local ACCORD licensed premises group, or developing peer support training. From 1989 to 1990, Clark chaired the committee that protested to save the Ashburton Hospital from closure.

Clark said it had been rewarding to see ACADS grow from employing one counsellor, to a team of 12 staff today. These included a clinical team and youth mental health team.

‘‘There’s a lot of people struggling out there, and a lot of people living with addiction problems and family members living with people with addiction problems, so it’s important to have these services.’’