Treatment Challenges

Non-violent de-escalation and restraint

It is in the nature of adolescent addiction that legal problems may have to be faced by clients and by AARC.

Many of our clients have criminal records, sometimes involving violence. Some are actively engaged in illegal drug activity, some have been living on the streets, some have been involved in prostitution. Many clients have developed psychological disorders or mental illness in combination with their addictions, what’s known as comorbidity; some may have attempted suicide. None of these problems is left behind when they come to AARC, therefore all AARC staff are trained in suicide intervention.

Last resort

For some clients, AARC is the last resort in terms of treatment, as they may have declined, failed or actively fled all other options. Few adolescents view drugs and alcohol to be at the root of the issues they face and as a result do not seek treatment; normally, parents or family members are the ones seeking treatment on the adolescent’s behalf.

Given these exceptional circumstances, it is not possible to guarantee that clients will always treat each other with respect. It is always possible that there may be physical violence or intimidation. All AARC staff are certified to de-escalate and restrain using non-violent measures.

Legal framework

AARC’s treatment of adolescents always operates within the legal framework governed by federal and provincial statutes. The most important legal document that we refer to is Alberta’s Children First Act, which was proclaimed (became law) in 2014. You can read an overview here.

AARC works closely with Calgary Police Department with regard to legal questions that may arise in the treatment of clients with addiction. Other legislation that applies in some contexts of our work includes: Alberta Building Code Recovery Homes (Standata Youth Intervention Facilities); Child Youth & Family Enhancement Act Licensing Regulations; Child Care Act; Social Care Facilities Licensing Act.

As an Alberta non-profit company, AARC complies with all federal and provincial statutes related to the operation of business premises and the employment of full-time staff and volunteers. All the necessary criminal backgrounds checks, including child intervention checks, are carried out prior to any person becoming involved with the treatment of a client.

AARC accepts the risks that accompany treating clients and families. Their willingness to face these risks and complexities with confidence is a key component of its success, as evidenced by the majority of clients who in time are grateful for the intervention initiated by their families.

AARC is committed to ensuring that its model is available to clients and families in need, no matter how difficult the situation may appear.