Clear Directions Substance Abuse Program
Clear Directions is a specialized school program for youth who are currently engaged in problematic substance use and have a concurrent mental health issue.
A multidisciplinary team working within a harm reduction philosophy engages youth by acknowledging and building on strength, instilling hope and inviting family and friends into the classroom and therapy room. A continuum of care encompassing outreach, individual, family and group therapy, day treatment, psychiatric consultation, residential care, case management and follow up is offered.
The family is considered to be an essential part of the treatment team and required in order to engage the youth and achieve the best results. Each family receives family therapy with our program social worker.
The academic program is offered in partnership with The Toronto District School Board. All curriculum is credit based and delivered within Ministry of Education guidelines.
Follow up and ongoing community care is provided to youth and families as long as they find it useful.
Clear Directions offers consultation and presentations on substance use to schools and community groups.
As a result of this program:
87% of clients showed improvement at discharge on the Child and Adolescent Functional Assessment Scale (CAFAS), which is administered pre and post treatment.
80% of clients said the program helped them to reduce their substance use.
Bee came to the Clear Directions Program shortly after being diagnosed with a significant mental illness. Bee and her parents experienced great difficulty accepting the diagnosis and Bee just wanted to feel ‘normal’. Unfortunately, Bee’s substance use exacerbated her symptoms and increased her risk of hospitalization.
The Clear Directions clinician began weekly meetings to support Bee and her family. The youth workers found ways to help Bee ‘normalize’ her life: by attending school on a daily basis, providing opportunities to ‘hang out’ with other kids her age without using drugs, and helping her to accept her diagnosis and find ways to improve her situation.
When Bee left the program at the end of the school year, she rarely used substances and consistently followed her medication schedule. Most importantly from her perspective, she had earned six credits towards her high school diploma.