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The Young Person's Programme (YPP)

The Young Person’s Programme (YPP) based at the Drug Treatment Centre Board (DTCB) in Pearse Street, Dublin, was established to provide treatment to young people under age of 19 who have a serious drug misuse problem. The YPP is supported by a multidisciplinary team which includes input from Project Workers, Consultant Psychiatrists, a Psychiatric Registrar, Counselling, Social Work, Clinical Psychology, Nursing and Art practitioners.

The YPP team aim to assist young drug users by developing a holistic and systemic understanding of the unique needs of their clients, establishing collaborative treatment partnership and using evidence- based treatments to address as many of the biological, psychological and social needs of the drug misusing young person as possible.

Whilst the majority of clients attending the YPP will have a primary diagnosis of heroin dependence, there is recognition of the negative impact of other drugs such as stimulants, alcohol and benzodiazepines. There is thus a great awareness of the need to also develop appropriate, relevant and evidence based interventions to assist those young people who require assistance with serious dependence to drugs other than opiates.

The young client’s treatment process commences with the conducting of a multidisciplinary team assessment followed by the collaborative development of a holistic treatment plan in which the client plays a very active role. Regular structured treatment plan reviews are held with the client and their family members (if so agreed) to monitor progress and to adapt interventions as needed. There is also a close partnership with other allied agencies that can offer appropriate supports and services to the client.

The referral process to the YPP commences with the client, or their representative, making contact with a Project Worker who will make an appointment for an initial assessment or assisting with an alternative referral if this is felt to be more appropriate. Assessment typically involves three separate appointments on the YPP, spread over seven to ten days. During this period they will also be seen by the Project Worker, Registrar, Clinical Psychologist and also the Consultant Psychiatrist if necessary. In addition to the clients current drug use patterns, the assessment process will also attempt to lead an understanding of those developmental, family and community factors relevant to the genesis and maintenance of the clients drug use and to identify those problems which co- exist with the clients drug problems. Topics covered during the initial assessment will include their current risk profile, past drug- use patterns, alcohol use, physical or medical problems, psychological difficulties, legal difficulties and any relevant social issues. Urine drug screening is conducted during assessment. The appropriate involvement of family members and significant others during this process is encouraged.

While the YPP given its city centre location has principally dealt with young people from Dublin area clients are increasingly coming from elsewhere in the country.

There is a cohesive, multidisciplinary team ethos within the YPP and the various team members play supportive and overlapping roles in the overall treatment process.

Given cultural and societal changes, the YPP strives to ensure that its practices reflect international best practices. To this end staff participate in regular training in contemporary approaches.

Students, professionals, groups and organisations wishing to visit or make an appointment with the YPP would be most welcome to do so and are invited to contact the team (6488614/ 705) to schedule a convenient time to be hosted.

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