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Services for Youth, 18 Years and Younger, with Substance Use Disorders (Addiction to Drugs and/or Alcohol)

Do you suspect that a young adult or teenager you know is using controlled substances?

To start intervention or treatment services, contact the student’s:

  • school nurse
  • school psychologist or
  • school counselor 

Ask him or her about the school’s Student Assistance Program (SAP) and the drug and alcohol consultant for the program.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania requires that counties provide a continuum of services for children and youth, 18 years of age and younger, who have substance use disorders. The continuum must offer prevention, intervention and treatment services.


  • in the community through information fairs, after school programs, and anti-drug abuse coalitions.
  • in schools, from elementary to secondary, through assemblies, delivery of evidence based curriculum in classrooms, facilitating support/psycho-education groups for students, and involvement in other school events.  


  • intervention services requested by school staff, family members or the child
  • provided through services coordinated by the Student Assistance Program (SAP)
  • brings student together with SAP behavioral health professionals who provide support one-on-one or in group settings*
  • convenes an SAP team meeting including
    • the student
    • the referring individual (often a teacher)
    • the SAP agency liaison
    • the school counselor, and
    • the principal or vice principal of the school

Working as a team, SAP program facilitators from school and community behavioral health programs support the student in his/her efforts to make healthier choices.

*SAP liaisons specialize in mental health concerns and/or substance use (D&A) concerns.



Use the DHS Office of Behavioral Health Where to Call directory to find information about appropriate agencies.


According to Act 53, parents or legal guardians may request involuntary treatment for minors. Contact the DHS Drug/Alcohol Unit SCA case managers, 412-350-3328, 412-350-3952 or 412-350-3441.