The Regional Alcohol and Drug Day (RADD) treatment program is once again looking for youth who either want to quit using or reduce their harm.
Run by Freedom Quest Regional Youth Services, the RADD program has been very successful in the West Kootenay for youth aged 13 to 19 (although inclusion for those aged 19 to 24 is also a possibility in special circumstances.)
“We thought it would be beneficial for youth to have treatments closer to home,” Cindy Cropley, RADD program facilitator said.
Before the RADD program, Cropley said youth would often have to travel as far away as Prince George or Vancouver to receive treatment.
“It doesn’t give them the opportunity to use the skills that they’re going to be using daily,” Matt Weber, another RADD program facilitator said.
During the six-week program, a minimum of five youth meet three days a week (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday) for four hours in Castlegar. If other youth sign up that live elsewhere, they will be transported in.
RADD, which occurs three times a year, needs a minimum of five youth to run. During the program, they will learn skills to change their behaviour and also take part in a recreation component.
“It’s about helping youth understand their own use,” Cropley said.
Each person goes through a rigorous interview process before being accepted into the program.
“We try and make it so the group is going to be okay,” Cropley said, explaining that they try to judge the personalities of the youth to make sure they’ll mesh well.
“The good part of this program is that they’re in real life while going through the program,” Weber said, adding that often those in the program will go home at night, try one of the skills and come back and say, “OK, that didn’t work, what else can we try?”
While the youth do miss some school during the program, Cropley said usually schools will grant the students credits for participating in the program.
“Oftentimes the kids that are coming to the program are struggling in school already,” she said, so many of them won’t focus on school at all while they’re in the program and instead just focus on bettering themselves.
Both Cropley and Weber agreed the youth setting helps the young adults who join the program.
“Even when they’ve gone to support programs such as [Alcoholics Anonymous], it’s very hard for them to connect with other people,” Cropley said, explaining they just can’t relate to the other group members, who may be married or have children.
After RADD, participants receive ongoing support in specific issues, such as housing, counselling, or continued drug and alcohol treatment, but Weber said they’re looking into implementing a recovery support group.
The next program starts Jan. 26. Youth may refer themselves, or friends and family can refer someone as well.
“What we say to people is, even if you think someone may need this then we encourage you to come for an interview,” Cropley said.
If you’re not right for the program, Cropley and Weber can refer you to another resource that might be better.
For more information, call the Castlegar office at 250-304-2676 or email Cropley at firstname.lastname@example.org or Weber at email@example.com.