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As a healthcare facility, per King County requirements, masks continue to be mandatory in all YES indoor public, counseling, and group activity spaces.

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Substance Use Recovery at YES

Lidia Harding
Blog Programs Substance Abuse Youth and Family Counseliing
accidental overdose to opiates

Cara* grew up with a mother who was a drug user. She remembers needles all over the house that she had to clean up. When Cara began to suffer from PTSD and anxiety from her childhood trauma, she turned to substance use to cope.

“In the environment, I was living in, drugs were offered to me freely. Being around my mom, I thought it was normal.”

As drug trends have changed over the years, YES is seeing youth turn to drugs like Xanax, OxyContin, and Percocet and purchasing them over social media platforms. But many do not realize these pills could be manufactured with a dangerous drug called Fentanyl.

Fentanyl is a highly potent and dangerous synthetic opioid that is 80-100 times more potent than morphine. As a result, it’s a significant cause of accidental overdose for unsuspecting youth.

Cara has a chance at lifeCara gets support for her substance use

After an accidental overdose lead to a hospital stay, Cara was referred to YES. Unfortunately, her family couldn’t afford the services, but thanks to donations from YES supporters, she was offered a sliding-scale fee that went down to $0 and start her recovery.

Donations to YES helps youth struggling with substance use by funding education and intervention programs, screenings for risk factors, and treatment through YES’ Road to Recovery Program.

Providing substance use education

Thanks to ongoing support, YES offers the East King County community free virtual Alcohol and Drug Education Classes (ADEC) for families. The three-hour intervention class teaches youth ages 12-18 and their parents/caregivers about the impact of substance use.

If you would like to register for this class, visit our substance use services page.

Providing youth with a safe space

Through in-school counseling and treatment, students are receiving intervention before their drug use escalates. In-School YES counselors give students a safe space to connect with others through groups such as; Recovery Group, Affected Others Group, and Quit Vaping Now.

YES in-school staff recently thanked donors for contributing to the back-to-school campaign and created a video outlining what support they can offer. Watch it here.

Providing screening for risk factors

YES is reaching out to youth exposed to drug use risks, through screenings in-school and during their initial assessment at our agency. Youth are asked questions such as – do you know anyone who uses drugs? have you ever been offered drugs? and how do you cope with uncomfortable emotions? – to gauge their potential risk for drug use.

Providing treatment

YES’ provides youth struggling with substance use with an evidence-based Road to Recovery Groups. Thanks to YES donors, youth can access this treatment regardless of their ability to pay. The program includes weekly groups in combination with individual counseling with dually-licensed therapists who treat both their substance use and underlying mental health challenges.

Your support is making a difference

Despite rising overdose deaths, there’s some important good news regarding opioid misuse. In 2021, rates of nonmedical use by high school seniors have fallen by 2%.

Krisite Necklason says not to let our guard sownBut Kristie Neklason, Director of School Based Services at YES, warns us not to let our guard down.

“While numbers are down, this crisis hasn’t gone away. Fentanyl is still very present, and even one life lost is significant. We need to continue to provide these services, so we don’t experience a resurgence.”

* While the client story told here is true, the name, image, and identifying information have been changed to protect the client’s privacy.


Supporting youth struggling with substance use and mental health challenges is made possible through the generosity of supporters like you. Please consider making a gift today to provide children, youth, and families with programs that support their mental health and recovery.

Thanks to donations like yours, no family is turned away because they can’t afford to pay for services.

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