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Youth substance use services

Our free youth substance use services are designed to meet the needs of youth struggling with substance misuse or addiction to drugs or alcohol. They include prevention, counselling and treatment services. 

How to access services

All services can be accessed through the Central Addictions Intake Team (CAIT). Please feel free to call with questions regarding any services listed below or to learn about options for youth struggling with substance use.

Download the CAIT referral package (PDF) for Peak House, Young Bears Lodge and the VCH day treatment program.

  • Phone: 604-209-3705 (Open daily 10 am - 8pm, except Fridays 10am - 5pm)

  • Email: cait.youth@vch.ca

  • Fax: 604-255-1101

Prevention & health promotion

The goal of our prevention and education services is to prevent, reduce, delay and minimize harms related to drug and alcohol use by youth. We provide services to both youth and their families and caregivers including:

  • Activities that help promote a sense of connection and belonging for youth at school, home and in the community.

  • Workshops and supportive education sessions

  • Referrals to community services

  • BLUSH: Youth sexual health: BLUSH stands for Bold Learning for Understanding Sexual Health. We are a peer-to-peer education program working with youth during the developmental window of age 12-18. We provide opportunities for youth to explore attitudes, values, and behaviours that support sexual health and well-being for lifelong impact with open, candid and unapologetic discussions around sex and sexual health.

  • Watari's S.T.A.R. Program: Watari’s “Stop, Think, Assess, & Respond” (S.T.A.R.) program is an education program for grades 4 to 7, presenting in classrooms all around the Greater Vancouver area. S.T.A.R. offers a “just say KNOW” approach to drugs, safety, compassion, and community to promote discussion and encourage healthy decision making.

  • SACY (Supporting and Connecting Youth): SACY is a substance use health promotion initiative that engages Vancouver parents, teachers, students, administrators and the greater community to strengthen school-based alcohol and drug prevention and early-intervention programs and policies. 

VCH contracts with and/or works closely with the following community-based organizations who provide outreach, counselling and support services:

Outpatient services

Youth Intensive Case Management Team (ICMT) is a multidisciplinary team with the goal of providing innovative, client-centered, and culturally sensitive services to youth ages 13 to 24 with complex needs (e.g. substance use, homelessness, mental health challenges). Goals consist of increased continuity of care and youth engagement in their own care as well as improved communication between the members of a youth's care team.

Download the Youth Intensive Case Management Team (YICMT) brochure

The team consists of clinicians and case managers, youth outreach workers, an Indigenous cultural worker, nurse practitioners, social workers, an occupational therapist and housing worker.

Some reasons to refer to the Youth ICMT include:

  • Comprehensive case management of  clients with complex needs

  • System navigation with clients

  • Professional consultation regarding  client needs and appropriate services

  • Organization of a multi-agency care plan meeting

  • Mental Health and Substance Use Assessments for the purpose of treatment planning

  • Requiring support through transition

Services that youth can be connected to:

  • Access to primary care

  • Access to Opiate Agonist Therapy

  • Cultural and spiritual support and services

  • Outreach in the community

  • Referrals and help connecting with services including longer term community supports

  • Harm reduction supplies and education

  • OT assessment and support

  • Treatment planning

  • Connection with pro-social supports

Transition into Independence (TIP) 

The team also encompasses a housing subsidy program called Transition into Independence (TIP) which offers a monthly housing subsidy for market housing for VCH catchment area youths ages 18 to 25. Youth are connected with a youth care worker providing case management and intensive support to youths. Youths can also be connected to primary care, cultural and spiritual support, case management or other community or treatment supports.

Transition Group

The team also offers a life skills group named the Transition Group. The Transitions Group gives youth who are transitioning into adulthood the opportunity to learn life skills in a supportive, low-barrier environment along with Vancouver Coastal Health. Participants are between the ages of 17 and 24 and have had some involvement with MCFD or VACFSS. Examples of topics covered include: healthy eating, eating on a budget, income and identification, education and employment and physical and mental health. 

VCH youth day treatment program is a 12 week outpatient substance use treatment program serving youth 16-24 living in the Vancouver Coastal Health Region. Youth are asked to have some goals around their substance use, which can be flexible. The program works with youth identifying harm reduction goals, abstinence goals, and everything in between. The program works to include multi-barrier youth, including those experiencing homelessness, mental health concerns, and trauma. Both group work and individual work are offered, with a focus on topics such as healthy relationships, relapse prevention, and building healthy community. Clinicians in the program are skilled in a variety of treatment modalities, and work from a trauma informed lens. The Day Treatment Program is committed to providing accessible and relevant programing around substance use, and its impact on participants. Based on a holistic and trauma informed and harm reduction model, youth will engage in a variety of content providing therapeutic connections and support through individualized treatment plans and goal setting.

Download the Vancouver Youth Day Treatment Program brochure

The VCH Youth Day Treatment Program offers group therapy 4 times a week, and Individual therapy as needed by clients. Staff includes an Intake Clinician, Concurrent Disorder Clinician, and Social Worker. 

Our confidential youth substance use counselling services help youth and their families deal with substance use by providing access to treatment, community services and follow-up care. We help with goal setting related to problematic substance use and provide one on one counselling as well as support to caregivers.

Grounded in a trauma-informed, harm reduction, strengths-based and youth centered practice with a focus on wellness, the counselors use a variety of therapeutic modalities in their work and are trained in; motivational interviewing, CBT, DBT, narrative, brief or solution focused, family therapy, interpersonal therapy, group therapy – both process and psychoeducational.

Richmond Addictions Services Society offers support and counselling for you and your loved one. Setting up a counselling planning session starts with a call to 604-270-9220 or send an email and a counsellor will call you back. Find out which services are appropriate, or if a referral to detox, residential treatment, recovery and/or other community resources is necessary.

 

Residential treatment

We ensure that youth who require intensive support for drug and alcohol-related issues are provided options for treatment. The most intensive level of support and structure available for youth interested in moving towards a healthier, substance-free lifestyle is provided by residential treatment programs.

Withdrawal management

We provide community-based withdrawal services for youth in safe and supportive home environments. Services are provided in a comfortable and quiet residential setting and supported by trained staff. The average length of stay is approximately 5-7 days. 

Youth can access referrals to services, primary care, opiate agonist therapy as well as case management and spiritual and cultural services.

Learn more at Family Services of Greater Vancouver youth detox.

 

The home stabilization program assists youth and their care givers with managed withdrawal and follow-up in a home environment. The team works with young people age 12-24 who are using substances and want to stop or significantly reduce use of at least one substance. The program provides client centred, trauma informed, equitable and strength based accessible services. Download the youth home stabilization program brochure

Services offered include:

  • Support through withdrawal

  • Short term family counselling/mediation

  • Access to Opiate Agonist Therapy (Suboxone, Methadone) and primary care

  • Home visits

  • Education about withdrawal management

  • Cultural and spiritual supports

  • Harm reduction supplies and education

  • Referral and connection to services including long term community support and treatment programs

Some of the key principles and strategies of the program include:

  • Helping community partners reimagine what effective substance use support can look like

  • Involving families, care givers, and support people identified by the youth.  Help open up communication about goals, motivation, and how the youth wants to be supported in working towards the changes they envision.

  • Connecting youth with relevant supports including primary care, OAT, cultural support, prosocial activities, and follow up counseling and treatment

  • Providing psychoeducation, harm reduction supplies, counseling, system navigation, evidence based interventions, and innovative solutions as guided by the youth

SOURCE: Youth substance use services ( )
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