The Bridge Youth and Family Services has opened four new youth detox beds in Kelowna, for people under the age of 18.

The Bridge Youth and Family Services has opened four new youth detox beds in Kelowna, for people under the age of 18.

Youth detox beds now open

The first new youth detox services in Kelowna in more than a decade are now open for those under 18

Four new youth detox beds have opened in Kelowna and the company that runs them says it’s the first detox services for youth in more than a decade in the city.

According to The Bridge Youth and Family Services, the new youth detox service is the first to open in Kelowna since the closing of the Iridian Centre more than 10 years ago. The Bridge Youth and Family Services, in partnership with Interior Health, has now opened the doors to a four bed withdrawal management program for youth ages 18 years old and under.

“It’s part of an overall strategy from prevention and education through to harm reduction and treatment. A significant gap in service for our region has now been filled, “ said program coordinator Jamie McGregor who explained that in the absence of the service, youth who wanted treatment had to leave their family and community to detox.

Young people withdrawing from a variety of substances will reside in a safe and supportive environment for 5 to 15 days. The program—called YD33— will begin to holistically address the needs of each participant with medical care and informational workshops along with individual and family counselling. Community support planning will be a key component to helping the young person experience success upon discharge.

The Bridge Youth and Family Services has almost fifty years of history in providing social services to the children, youth and families of this community and nearly five years of partnership with Interior Health in offering adult detox as well as treatment.

“We have proven our facility to respond effectively and compassionately to individuals who have experienced, or are experiencing, poverty, addiction/problematic substance use, family conflict, homelessness, mental illness, sexual exploitation, and physical abuse, sexual abuse, or other trauma,” said executive director, Celine Thompson. “We’re looking forward to extending this vital service to young people experiencing problematic substance use.”.

Youth can be referred by their physician, counsellor or through service providers including The Okanagan Boys and Girls Club, and ARC Programs Ltd. In addition the youth detox program will be integrated and accessible through The Foundry, the area’s new youth mental health services centre, when it opens in June.

Individuals can also self-refer to the program; full details and referral forms are available at http://www.thebridgeservices.ca/youth-detox-yd33