Where can I find substance use services for youth?
There are different options for getting treatment for substance use problems (alcohol or other drugs). Youth are often referred to treatment programs which are publicly funded (no fee) or partially-funded. There are also private substance use treatment programs with a cost.
Youth services are usually for ages 13 to 18. Some programs also serve young adults up to 24 years of age.
There are different types of treatment available:
- Individual and family counselling with a psychologist or counsellor (fee for private services)
- Day treatment programs – your child is there during the day but comes home at night
- Residential programs – your child stays at the treatment program site
- Detox programs – your child may have to attend a detox program before entering a treatment program, if medical supervision is needed while they go through withdrawal
- Support groups or self-help groups
Finding treatment and support:
You can get information about treatment and resources by calling the BC Alcohol and Drug Information and Referral Service at 1-800-663-1441 (toll free in BC) or 604-660-9382 (in Greater Vancouver). Available 24 hours a day.
Many treatment programs want a youth to be referred for treatment by an alcohol and drug counsellor. The first step is to call the number above.
You can also talk to your family doctor, who can complete an assessment. Another option is to check if you have a Foundry Centre in your community. They offer support and treatment for mental health and substance use concerns (for ages 12-24).
First Nations people and their family can also ask health and wellness providers in their circle of care for a referral to the First Nations Virtual Substance Use and Psychiatry Service. Together, you and your care provider attend a virtual appointment with a specialist in addictions medicine.
Some families find Al-Anon and Nar-Anon meetings helpful. These BC family groups provide support, education, and resources to assist the families and friends of those with alcohol or other substance use problems. They are complementary to, but separate from, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA).
Is your child struggling with a mental health challenge as well as a substance use problem?
This is called a concurrent disorder. It’s important to take care of both concerns at the same time. If your child is 18 and younger, visit a Child and Youth Mental Health (CYMH) intake clinic. Also, your health authority may have a “Concurrent Disorders” Program, such as the concurrent disorder therapists in Fraser Health that support youth up to age 24.
Unsure which health authority your community is in?
Check this map with website links to health authorities:
- Vancouver Coastal Health (Vancouver, Richmond, North Shore, Sea to Sky, Sunshine Coast, Central Coast)
- Fraser Health (Burnaby, Hope, White Rock, etc.)
- Island Health (Victoria, Nanaimo, Port Hardy, etc.)
- Northern Health (Prince George, Terrace, etc.)
- Interior Health (Kelowna, Kamloops, Williams Lake, etc.)
You can always reach out to us at the Kelty Centre1 800 665 1822
firstname.lastname@example.org for parent support and resources as well. Listen to our concurrent disorders podcast for suggestions on how to best support and treat youth.