Planning is underway for Red Deer’s five-bed mandatory detox for children and youth to expand to eight beds.
The protective safe house for the Protection of Children Abusing Drugs (PChAD) program allows parents or guardians of children or youth under age 18 who are abusing alcohol or drugs to apply to provincial court for an apprehension and a 10-day confinement order for detox and assessment.
The PChAD Act took effect in 2006 to help minors whose alcohol or drug use is likely to cause significant psychological or physical harm to themselves or others.
Last fall the Red Deer program moved to a new and temporary location in the city with plans for a permanent and larger location.
“There is a high demand for beds. We had 141 youth April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016 that were cared for and treated at our PChAD program in Red Deer,” said Stacy Hodgson, director for community addictions and mental health for Alberta Health Services, Central Zone.
PChAD also operates in Edmonton, Calgary and Grande Prairie with a total of 28 beds in the province. As a provincial program, children or youth in the Red Deer area may land in another city depending on the availability of local beds.
Noreen McCallum, program manager for community addiction and mental health for AHS Central Zone, said about half the children and youth at the Red Deer program come from Red Deer and immediate area.
In 2012, PChAD went from five-day confinement to 10 days.
“It really helped us move from that detox stage into the assessment stage, and really moved from being just enough time to anger a youth to enough time for the youth to start to see that life could be better for them without drugs,” McCallum said.
Parents or guardians who want to access PChAD can go to addictions services at Red Deer Provincial Building to meet with an addictions worker to begin the process.
“It really gives the parents a leg up at getting their youth clear of substances so they have a clear starting base. It really is a tool in the parents’ tool box in terms of managing youth with significant addiction problems.”
In Red Deer, the provincial program is run through AHS and its community agency partner McMan Youth Family and Community Services Association.