Ground has been broken on a new Alberta Health Services (AHS) building in Red Deer to house the Protection of Children Abusing Drugs (PChAD) program.
“Every young person deserves a safe home and a supportive environment in which to grow and thrive,” said Sarah Hoffman, Alberta’s minister of health. “I’m pleased we are starting construction on a facility that will provide better access to mental health and addiction services for more children and their families.”
“This new build will expand addiction treatment options and enhance services by making them closer to home for more youth aged 12 to 18,” said Laurie Holt, program manager, addiction and mental health, AHS – Central Zone. “This is good news for vulnerable youth and their families.”
Once complete, it will replace the temporary five-bed PChAD facility in Red Deer with an eight-bed program provide comprehensive assessment, detoxification, addictions counselling, health services, and 24-hour care and supervision to approximately 170 children and teens in Central Alberta annually. That’s up from the 100 youth being treated each year at the existing five-bed facility.
The purpose of the PChAD program is to help children and youth whose substance use has caused, or is likely to cause, significant physical, psychological or social harm to themselves or physical harm to others, and who are refusing voluntary treatment. The Protection of Children Abusing Drugs Act is an Alberta law that took effect July 1, 2006.
Holt called the 10-day program for youth ages 12 to 18 a ‘social detox.’
“We have addiction counsellors and mental health staff available to meet their needs who will look at some of the reasons why they are using and suggest alternatives,” he said. “Following discharge, there are other offers available to the youth. Hopefully, they would want to connect with the addictions counsellor on an outpatient basis.”
He added, “The good thing about it is youth are able to access the program several times. Parents can apply over and over again.”
To protect the safety, privacy and confidentiality of the children and youth who reside at the facility for short stays, the location of the facility is not disclosed. The service is located on AHS land.
Aside from the PChAD program, AHS provides addiction prevention, treatment and counselling services and programs within the city of Red Deer and across the Central Zone.
Crisis Services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week via the Addiction Help Line, 1-866-332-2322.
-With files from Alberta Health Services