Program Delivery
The goals of any withdrawal program should include:

  • Managing physical & psychological symptoms of withdrawal to allow the young person to complete the program
  • To assist the young person to participate in all aspects of the program
  • To identify & capitalise on the strengths of young people
  • To address barriers to participation
  • To model and reinforce healthy self-care

Each client undergoes an individually tailored and medically supervised withdrawal from substances. This can include the use of pharmacotherapies.

Within the residential environment comprehensive primary health and mental health care is also provided in the context of integrated psycho-social care planning. This is often co-ordinated with other services or others involved in the care of the young person.

For some young people a residential stay is an opportunity for facilitated family re-connection, and working with the family to establish what will be helpful in supporting the young person to achieve their goals. 

Youth specific residential withdrawal services usually integrate group or individual sessions on harm reduction and relapse prevention into programs. Further, services often take the opportunity to offer young people a range of other health promoting program options such as group or individual sessions on self-soothing & relaxation techniques, living skills (e.g. meal planning and cooking), sexual health, etc.

Withdrawal programs vary in how much participation is required. An ‘incentive’ based (rather than punitive) participation system is commensurate with the characteristics of effective youth AOD work. It is a way of maximising the potential of young people to complete the program and positively reinforce healthy behaviour-change.

Whilst undertaking a withdrawal, young people’s health and well-being commonly improves and many develop new plans for the future. The key worker or another designated staff member should ‘check-in’ with the young person every day to reflect on their progress and learn of any changes to their goals. This also allows any potential barriers to continuing participation in the program to be identified and addressed.

Planning for the young person’s transition from the program is also occurs as the program is being delivered (see aspect 5 next).