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Youth Substance Use: Information for Parents

Youth Treatment Options and Services

There are many youth substance use treatment options and services in Alberta. Deciding which one is best for your child can be hard. An addiction counsellor can work with you and your child to help them choose the best option. As a parent, your main role is to support your child and make sure their needs are met.

Treatment options include:

  • group counselling
  • support groups
  • day programs
  • appointments with an addiction counsellor (outpatient treatment)
  • residential treatment programs (your child stays at the treatment facility for days, weeks, or months at a time)
  • Indigenous treatment programs

When someone in the family uses substances in a harmful way, it can affect everyone. This is why many treatment programs and services also offer support for family members.

A counsellor may recommend that your child goes for treatment at a youth treatment facility. This is a more intensive treatment program for youth ages 12 to 17. These are day or residential treatment programs that teach your child how to:

  • use less substances or stop using them
  • make decisions
  • manage feelings
  • have good relationships
  • find healthy ways to have fun

They use games, outdoor trips, problem-solving exercises, and hands-on group and individual activities to help your child work through why they use substances and what they can do instead.

If your child is in a day treatment program, they will live at home. If they are in a residential treatment program, they will stay at the treatment facility while they get treatment. Residential programs offer a more stable setting to support and help your child withdraw from substance use and get ready for treatment. Day and residential programs may last days, months, or weeks.

Talk with an addiction counsellor to learn more about treatment and support options for you, your child and your family.

More information

Alberta Health Services offers many addiction and mental health services to help you, your child, and your family, including:

  • information and prevention programs
  • group and family counseling
  • outpatient and residential treatment
  • the Protection of Children Abusing Drugs Program (PChAD)

For more information or to find services near you, call Health Link at 811.

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