Closure of Vancouver youth detox program ‘devastating,’ advocates say

published on April 1, 2022 in CBC News

Advocates are worried for youth in need of detox treatment after one of the few sites offering non-medical support in Metro Vancouver learned the province is withdrawing its funding.

Directions Youth Services in Vancouver was told by the province this week that it will no longer fund the centre’s youth detox program, meaning it will be forced to stop offering the service by early June.

Directions provides a range of services for people under the age of 25 who are in crisis or homeless as a result of abuse, neglect, substance use, or mental health challenges.

Its youth detox program uses what’s known as a social detoxification model, which means no medication is used to treat withdrawal. The program includes room and board for up to seven days, meals, counselling and harm-reduction supplies and information, and is low barrier, organizers say.

“Youth are able to receive our services quickly,” said Ciara Frith, a youth detox counsellor, who said she was devastated the program would be closing…

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