Pathways to offer substance abuse outpatient treatment for youth |

Pathways to offer substance abuse outpatient treatment for youth

Nonprofit SpotlightKay VasilakisGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

After working in substance abuse prevention in Garfield, Eagle and Pitkin counties for the last decade, Shelley Evans has listened to the community ask for outpatient care for substance-abusing youth. Evans started Community Health Initiatives last fall, with a dream to provide much-needed outpatient treatment for adolescents and their families struggling with substance abuse. The state’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division has identified Garfield County as being among the 10 counties with the highest rates of substance abuse in the state. Local data has identified about 250 area youth in need of outpatient treatment. Anyone who is concerned about his/her drug use or a friend or family member’s drug use can contact Pathways, which will evaluate youth between the ages of 12-18 through a no-charge assessment to ensure that Pathways is a suitable program for the individual’s needs. If outpatient treatment is a good fit, the individual can enroll in Pathway’s 6- to 9-week program, followed by aftercare.More than likely, Pathways will also receive referrals from agencies and organizations including YouthZone, courts, corrections, schools, public health, human services, Youth Recovery Center, other health care providers, local families, and kids themselves. In turn, Pathways will also cross-refer, when appropriate, to local agencies in order to provide the appropriate program for a family’s needs.

Agencies working with youth collaborate in order to provide the necessary services. Since there is no structured, multi-component, multi-session adolescent outpatient treatment program in the valley, Pathways hopes to fill that gap and ensure that all services related to substance abuse are available to youth and their families.The Pathways program model includes no-charge assessment; an individualized treatment plan; drug testing; education; group, family and individual counseling; tutoring; referral to other health care providers, when needed; and one to two years of aftercare, depending upon needs of the youth.Pathways is currently meeting the prevention focus of its mission by assisting in the development and implementation of a strategic prevention plan in Garfield County including a comprehensive needs assessment; developing a county-wide prevention policy board that will make decisions about substance abuse programming and funding in the future; participating on the Garfield County Meth Task Force; and assisting in the development of media campaigns focused on the prevention of underage drinking in Garfield County.”I think it’s very important people understand that this program has been a long time coming to Garfield County,” said Shelly Evans, Pathways executive director. “Time and time again, community groups have convened, studied, planned and advised the community about gaps in services along the substance abuse continuum from prevention through aftercare. The most glaring gap has always been in the provision of outpatient and intensive outpatient treatment for adolescent substance abusers.”

Kay Vasilakis’ “Nonprofit Spotlight” column runs every other Wednesday. Kay is the media coordinator for the Garfield County Human Services Commission. To contact her, please call 384-9118 or e-mail

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