Youth Addictions Stabilization Unit

When a young person is addicted to alcohol or other drugs, it not only affects the individual but their family as well.

It can happen to anyone
Addiction knows no social or economic boundaries. It can happen in any family, no matter where you live or how prosperous you are. No family is immune from the risk of drug abuse or addiction.

Risk of drug abuse increases greatly during times of transition, such as when a young person changes schools, moves, or when parents divorce. If we can prevent drug abuse, we can prevent drug addiction. In early adolescence, when children advance from elementary through middle school, they face new and challenging social and academic situations. Often during this period, children are exposed to substances such as cigarettes and alcohol for the first time. When they enter high school, teens may encounter greater availability of drugs, drug abuse by older teens and social activities where drugs are used.

At the same time, many behaviours that are normal aspects of their development, such as the desire to do something new or risky, may increase teen tendencies to experiment with drugs. Some teens may give in to the urging of drug-abusing friends to share the experience with them. Others may think that taking drugs (such as steroids) will improve their appearance or their athletic performance or that abusing substances will ease their anxiety in social situations.

Drug and alcohol abuse can disrupt brain function in areas critical to motivation, memory, learning, judgment, and behaviour control, so, it is not surprising that teens who abuse alcohol and other drugs may often have family and school problems, poor academic performance, health-related problems (including mental health), and involvement with the juvenile justice system.

Youth Addictions Stabilization Unit
The Youth Addiction Stabilization Unit (YASU) began operating in November 2006 and has been very successful in helping young people.

YASU is a short-term program to support families with a child 17 years of age and under who has an addiction to alcohol or other drugs. While in the facility, the effects of the substances can begin to wear off while youth are supported and encouraged to enter voluntary treatment. Stabilization services are provided by an interdisciplinary team of youth care and nursing staff. The goal is to support the young person to physically withdraw from the substance(s) he/she is using and to explore treatment options available in the community. The program provides support to families from diverse backgrounds and neighbourhoods all across Winnipeg and Manitoba.

Parents/guardians/youth can access this program through a centralized intake by calling 1-877-710-3999.

The Importance of Early Intervention
Early intervention can prevent youth from developing lifelong addictions. Early use of drugs increases a person’s chances of more serious drug abuse and addiction. This program has made a real difference for the youth who have accessed it. Of the youth who have completed this program, 70% have agreed to participate in further addictions services.

Almost 70% of referrals to the stabilization unit were made by parents. Parents have been relieved and grateful for the help provided by this program and have reported continued progress in their child’s efforts to conquer their addictions. The Youth Addictions Stabilization program has been the first step – the catalyst – in helping youth turn their lives around.

New! Voluntary Program
Until now, parents or guardians had to apply to have their son or daughter admitted to YASU. With the recent opening of the Voluntary Program, youth ages 12-17 can request help voluntarily by calling the Centralized Intake Youth Addictions Service (1-877-710-3999).

While the young person may leave at any time, the average recommended stay is seven to ten days. Housed in a brand new modern facility in St. Boniface, YASU is well equipped and comfortable.

Marymound’s team of caring youth care workers and nursing staff provide stabilization and counselling services.

YASU’s History

  • The Youth Addictions Stabilization Unit (YASU) has operated as a Marymound program since November 2006.
  • Marymound was chosen to run the program by Manitoba Health & Healthy Living because of its experience, expertise and established track record working with youth.
  • Youth in the program come from all over Manitoba and from all neighbourhoods of Winnipeg.
  • At present, 8 youths (four on an involuntary basis and another four on a voluntary basis) can be accommodated.

Program Results

  • The program is now well established and has been extremely successful.
  • To date, over 1,000 young people, ages 12-17 have accessed services at YASU, staying a maximum of seven days, stabilizing and receiving counseling. Youth in the voluntary program can stay longer if they wish or are if they are waiting for a space in a treatment facility.
  • Parents have been overwhelmingly pleased with the program and the “new beginning” it has offered their children.

To access this program, please call 1-877-710-3999.