AHS opens new protective safe house in Red Deer

More children and youth who struggle with drug and alcohol use will receive help from Alberta Health Services’ (AHS) expanded Protection of Children Abusing Drugs (PChAD) program and newest protective safe house.

Officially opening today, the $9.1-million safe house replaces a temporary PChAD facility that has been serving the local community since 2006. The new eight-bed site is capable of treating about 170 people annually, 70 per cent more than the previous facility.

“The Protection of Children Abusing Drugs program gives parents the ability to keep their children safe while providing them a pathway to recovery and, with these additional spaces, more families will benefit from their support,” says Jason Luan, Alberta’s Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addiction. “We are rapidly increasing access to recovery services for Albertans and remain steadfast in ensuring that all Albertans have access to a recovery-oriented continuum of care.”

The PChAD program helps people under the age of 18 whose use of alcohol or drugs will likely cause significant physical or psychological harm to themselves or others. Parents and guardians must apply for a protection order through the courts under the Protection of Children Abusing Drugs Act, allowing intervention when children and teens refuse voluntary treatment.

The expanded Red Deer program offers assessment, detoxification, addictions counselling, health services and 24-hour care and supervision. The new space also provides more security and safety for clients and staff, a more home-like environment for client care, and room for family therapy and work with community partners.

“This new space can improve the experience for these vulnerable children and teens going through substance use and related challenges,” says Sherie Allen, Addiction & Mental Health Senior Operating Officer in AHS Central Zone. “We are able to help more at-risk children and youth, and their families, at a time that they really need support.”

There are four such sites across the province: in Red Deer, Grande Prairie, Calgary and Edmonton.

In addition to the PChAD program, AHS provides addiction prevention, treatment and counselling services and programs across the Central Zone and the province. Help is also available 24 hours a day, seven days a week via the Addiction Help Line, 1-866-332-2322.