Substance Use Prevention and Treatment

Note: The information and material here may trigger unpleasant feelings or thoughts of past abuse. Please contact the 24 Hour KUU-US Crisis Line at 1-800-588-8717 or the 24 Hour Residential School Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419 if you require emotional support.​

 ​“To be mentally well means to me that my traditional teachings are restored. This includes the use of traditional teachings from dreams and vision quests to visualize new and more hopeful outcomes. ”(Anonymous quote from “A Path Forward”).

FNHA values, principles and directives come from ancestral teachings. The intergenerational impact of being separated from these traditional teachings leads to suffering through addictive behaviours. Reconnecting with traditional and ancestral ways provides the stability necessary to heal.
What is Substance Use Prevention and Treatment?

Substance use prevention and treatment include a range of community-based services and supports: prevention; health promotion; early identification and intervention; referral; aftercare and follow-up services. These services are offered in addiction treatment centres, which provide culturally relevant in-patient, outpatient and (day or evening) programs for alcohol, solvents and other drug addictions.

Why is this Important?

Substance Use (Abuse) can have a very negative effect on the health and wellbeing of individuals, families and communities. Through prevention and treatment, individuals and communities are enabled to address issues related to Substance (mis)use.

Making Substance Use Prevention and Treatment Work for You

Objective: To support First Nations communities in establishing prevention and treatment programs to reduce and prevent alcohol, drug, and solvent abuse among on-reserve populations and support overall community wellness.


Prevention initiatives strive to:

  • • Prevent substance use and/or abuse, 
    • Delay age of first substance use, and 
    • Avoid high-risk substance use 
Prevention initiatives aim to strengthen protective factors and minimize risk factors for substance abuse and addictions. Health promotion that recognizes social, cultural and environmental factors is also important for prevention.

Early Identification and Intervention
Early identification involves screening people who may be at risk for developing, or already have, a substance use or mental health issue. By identifying those who may be at risk, service providers may be able to intervene – for example, with support that meets the specific needs of the individual. 

Screening, Assessment and Referral

Screening, assessment and referral services are provided to:

• Identify individuals at elevated risk for substance abuse 
• Collect information to refer the client to the appropriate treatment (such as outpatient, day or evening treatment, or a residential treatment centre)  
• Identify any additional services required (e.g. detoxification, mental health treatment)
  • Treatment

Services and supports are provided for people with substance-use problems to meet the individual’s needs. These services can be community-based, outpatient extensions of residential programs or residential treatment programs. Support may include:

• Use of prescribed medications 
• Behavioural therapy (such as individual or group counselling) 
• Cognitive behavioural therapy 
• Culturally-based activities

Discharge Planning and Aftercare

The discharge planning and aftercare services build on the strong foundation set by the treatment process. These services support communities, which are so important in the long-term journeys of individuals and families towards healing and integration.

Performance Measurement, Research and Knowledge Exchange

Performance measurement and research is essential to ensure programs are effective in meeting client needs. Partners at the community, regional and provincial levels exchange knowledge and information for research and to develop new treatment approaches. 

Harm Reduction and Take Home Naloxone in BC First Nations Communities

Harm reduction aims to meet people where they're at - with open arms, acceptance and compassion and not with judgment or shame.  Harm reduction recognizes that every life is valuable and that substance use and addiction are complex and challenging. 

"Take Home Naloxone" is a provincial program run by the BC Centre for Disease Control. It aims to expand access to naloxone, the opioid overdose reversal drug that prevents overdose death. Physicians and nurse practitioners can write prescriptions for naloxone. With the expansion of this program, naloxone kits can also be ordered and dispensed by registered nurses to people with past or current opioid use (prescription or non-prescription). It is crucial for community health nurses to be engaged with people who are using drugs - otherwise, this life-saving treatment will not reach those most in need. 

Starting in June of 2016 naloxone can be purchased at a pharmacy and will be covered by Health Benefits.    

To register your community as a Take Home Naloxone site, complete the attached BCTHN New Site Registration Package and fax to  (604) 707-2516.  If you have any questions about the registration process, email:  For additional information on naloxone, follow this link:

Please find online the following documents:

If your community requires immediate support for Take Home Naloxone training, such as following an overdose in the community, FNHA can provide support. Contact Janine Stevenson to set up a training:

Stay tuned to the FNHA Youtube Channel for posting of the Learning Circle video:

For more information and/or assistance with questions about harm reduction, please contact Janine Stevenson, Nurse Specialist in Harm Reduction:

Naloxone Information for Community Members (PDF 107 KB)

Naloxone Information for Health Professionals (PDF 119 KB)

Naloxone Information for Pharmacists (PDF 111 KB)

What to Expect in the Future

The FNHA is committed to maintaining services with minimal disruption as a result of transfer. As regional planning proceeds we will begin to review and redesign policies. To allow First Nations to be part of the process in a meaningful way, we will be seeking direction regarding assessment and setting priorities for redesign.

Treatment Centres in British Columbia

Carrier Sekani Family Services (Najeh Bayou)

Gya'WaTlabb Centre

Interior Native Alcohol and Drug Abuse Society

Kackaamin Family Development Centre

Namgis Substance Abuse Treatment Centre

Nenqayni Wellness Centre

North Wind Healing Centre

Round Lake Treatment Centre

Telmexw Awtexw Treatment Centre (Sts'ailes) Band

Tsow-Tun Le Lum Treatment Centre

Wilp Si'Satxw House of Purification

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